Yesterday, about 165 (minus 160) people asked why I’d go to…
Jon Stewart/Steven Colberts’ Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
I wanted to write my views on it here…partly to give an answer, partly to see if I can make sense of it myself.
Let’s admit, moderation is a really amorphous concept. Most of the time when folks rally, there’s a definitive goal in mind…like, uhhh denial of rights (helped along with a healthy serving of ignorance and xenophobia). But this event was something else altogether…it takes some splainin, as Lucy might say. It’s hard to put in a snippet. To that end, I feared how many people would actually show up.
But show up they did. I’ve heard estimates from 100,000 to 250,000. Who knows? Whatever it was, it was a bunch of folks. And it wassss dope.
Granted, I would’ve preferred to see a few more folks of color out…and my cell phone going completely signalless made me feel like I was stuck in 1995, searching for a payphone (nobody told me they’re not around anymore), but hey, ’tis what it is.
What I did find, though, was something special. Jon Stewart is my hero, and his call to moderation, the request to turn away from the vitriolic rhetoric that has engulfed this country was inspiring. I’ve always believed the vast majority of the country is moderate…not shouting from the sides that the infamous “other” is “gay and therefore the antichrist”, “conservative and backwards,” or the ever-popular: Hitler.
Rather, we are a nation in the middle. One that has values, but doesn’t necessarily find them worthy of being spewed on others…a nation that finds beauty in conversation, respectful argument even. At least that’s what I hoped.
And my hopes were confirmed. Being among all those people crying out for a more informed national debate really restored my hope in this country.*
*Unfortunately it was destroyed again when I heard the lady behind me, in response to the Roots GREAT set say “I’m sick and tired of all this R&B. It’s just R&B.” In my continued attempt to be moderate, I didn’t throw a replica of the Roots’ Grammy at her.
**By the way, the music was absolutely killing for this joint. The Roots played a fantastic set with John Legend, then were house band for much of the afternoon. Cat Stevens, Tony Bennett, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Ozzy Osbourne, Mavis Staples, and a bunch of other folks were there as well.
***The pics are some of my favorite posters from today.