Alan Chin / facingchange.org for Newsweek.com
BagNewsOriginal Editor Alan Chin related the following impressions of the Stewart-Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity in DC which he photographed for Newsweek. (These are Alan’s images in the slideshow above).
This was not like going to a Tea Party rally where people look angry and depressed. This was 100,000 much younger and happier-looking people enjoying a beautiful day.
Comedy Central did all the security and had more to do with this than they would like to admit. Of course, Stewart and Colbert were not going to go on the hard core offensive. They don’t want to screw up their franchise. They didn’t want to come out and say anything political, but a couple hundred thousand people on the mall would speak for itself. So they could have it both ways. They could protect the TV show, but also say, “hey man, this energy is real.”
Regarding the mood of the crowd, one part was political. Wearing masks of Reagan and Ahmadinejad is pretty political. But the atmosphere was mostly festive, actually reminiscent of election night in Chicago and the inauguration.
Yes, there was a lot of silliness. But the idea was mostly to stave off the enthusiasm gap. It was Liberal Democrats on a nice day, coming out and saying we’re going to have a good time.
I also direct you to the thoughtful comments of a reader, Gerry, who was also there. In part, and echoing Chin, he said that:
Many/most of us couldn’t see or hear much of Stewart and Colbert, but there was solidarity in the crowd itself. It felt like an Obama rally without Obama — which is probably a good thing. It indicates that there is a movement that can go on, whether or not there’s a leader figure.
I was disappointed in NPR’s reporting of a crowd of “tens of thousands” (MANY tens of thousands is more accurate) and their inclusion of some polling drivel about the country being evenly divided over whether Obama should be re-elected. But there was good feeling at the event itself. Stewart, whether intentionally or not, gave us a rallying point — not for rallying to him, but for rallying to the sense of hope we had two years ago (and that most of us retain to this day).