Notes on the Rally to Restore Sanity

by David Mindich,, November 5, 2010

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As many of you have probably heard, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert joined forces to host a rally at the National Mall over the weekend. With a Facebook attendance conformation of over two hundred thousand people, I couldn't help but wonder just why in the hell so many people wanted to show their support.

Were we all tired of our government? No, that couldn't be it. I know for a fact that my group of friends and I were not the only ones at this rally who were willing to wake up at the ungodly hour of four A.M. and take the five-hour drive there and back on a Saturday. There were literally thousands of us who made that trip (if not a longer one) to show our support for a government brought to fruition on a platform of change who, so far, has not changed very much.

Were we impatient? It didn't seem so. People seemed nothing short of eager as they stood in line at the Metro for over three hours waiting to take the train into the city and walk from there to the rally.

Were we angry? Couldn't be. I could see only smiles from the thousands of faces we pushed past in an attempt to find a spot somewhere inside this mass of people that would allow us to actually hear and maybe even get a glimpse of Stewart or Colbert on one of the Jumbotrons put in place for us. Even after we found out that there was no such place as far back as we were, no one complained. We found ways to keep ourselves occupied, cheering on those who attempted to climb some of the trees surrounding the Mall in hopes of a better view. It didn't matter that we couldn't hear, we were all just happy we could be there to show our support.

But support for what? After traveling all this way I still wasn't quite sure. It wasn't until after I had realized that there was no way I would be able to see the rally from where I was, and my need for sustenance kicked in that I understood.

As I sat in an overcrowded diner watching the rally on T.V. I could hear Jon speaking clearly. He was showing a clip of the traffic coming into the city, explaining how it's only through working together that people were able to navigate through the tunnel leading into the city.

"You go, then I'll go, you go, then I'll go," Jon repeated. It was at that point, watching these cars stop and go, and hearing the hundreds of thousands of people cheering Stewart on as he related these cars to how our own government that I knew why we were there. It wasn't fatigue, or anger that brought us together-- it was a desire and a necessity. A desire to work together; each and every one of us. And a necessity to compromise, if for nothing else, then simply to get things moving once again.

There were people there for a whole number of reasons: support for our troops, for gay marriage, for the legalization of marijuana, and for every flavor of god you could think of. But all two hundred thousand of us had one common ground on which we could all base our support. We were there to support ourselves and to support each other. We were there to show everyone that we were all still willing to work together toward a better America. We were there because we still believed that, as Stewart and Colbert put it, we are the greatest, strongest country in the world.

I can only hope that those in charge could hear us.

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