“If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.”
That seemed to be Jon Stewart’s primary message to the masses gathered Saturday afternoon on the National Mall for the “Rally to Restore Sanity,” a three-hour festival that seemed conceived above all else to quell—through the ridiculing of its media mongerers— the fear that has poisoned our political discourse.
While he appreciated the message and enjoyed the atmosphere, this correspondent feels that Stewart and his faux conservative arch-nemesis Stephen Colbert could have done better to amplify their own rally.
Packed like a sardine into the middle of a throng estimated at more than 200,000 strong, I found myself unable to hear much of anything emanating from the stage or the too-few speakers positioned within the larger-than-anticipated crowd. With my vision compromised as well (I declined my roommate Connor’s invitation to join him atop the 20-foot sycamore he had conquered for a better view), I settled on simply basking in the rally’s energy, which seemed to be most creatively manifested in the plethora of signs carried by its overwhelmingly liberal and white attendees.
They ranged from the witty—“All people who use hyperbole should be shot!”—to the debatably off-topic: “Can’t we all just get a bong?”
The award for cutest sign-holder goes to a baby boy that I observed in a restaurant sitting in a stroller and sporting a sign that read, “Sarah Palin’s vocabulary is smaller than mine!”
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My own piece of satire—hastily conceived and drunkenly assembled on a white board in a parking lot in a D.C. suburb—read, “Get yo’ gov’t hands off my Medicare!” and this correspondent derived great pleasure from the reactions it engendered among rally-goers with varying degrees of political awareness. They ranged from the confused stare to the knowing smile to my personal favorite: the patronizing, “You know Medicare is a government program right??”