60,000 people were expected, according to the permit filed with the NPS by Comedy Central, yet 150,000 were planned for when it came to the uber-important decision as to how many portable toilets were needed. Jon Stewart started out the rally with his satirical people count swag of 10,000,000. But how many people really were there? Well, you knew this was coming and we’ve only seen the beginning of the insanity over the sanity. Rough estimates from various sources say somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 people were in attendance for the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Saturday afternoon. Check out this crowd pic. If those numbers are accurate, however, it puts the rally size right around the same size as the Glenn Beck Rally to Restore Honor from a few months ago. Allow the great debate to begin. Who’s more popular? Stewart or Beck? Honor or Sanity?
But let’s not just focus on the crowd size. It doesn’t matter if there were 100,000 people or 500,000 people – if you were anywhere near downtown, you know it was packed! What do you get when you add a famous comedian’s rally, which encourages creative costumes and signs, to the day before Halloween overly-eager-trick-or-treater-crowd in DC? A damn good day of people watching, that’s for sure. The Mall was absolutely packed and wall to wall for most of the area from the Capitol to the Monument. But it wasn’t just the slew of people that made it interesting – it was the vibe that this rally carried. While most people going into it, including myself, didn’t necessarily even know what to expect or why they were really going, the energy and tone set by the thousands of attendees made for a sea of clever signs at a rally that was not really political at all, but instead themed around fun, human tolerance and taking a step back from the fury of sensationalism in the media. No media outlet or political party was spared from the video montages meant to draw attention to just how obsessed with fear mongering our society has become and how our beloved 24 hour news cycle seems to amplify it to no end.
The Roots, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Cat Stevens, Ozzy, Tony Bennett…I never expected to see all of these stars at a free event today and I wonder if the organizers even knew who would be secured to perform until the very last minute, especially given the ambiguous nature of the released agenda. It wasn’t all gold – some of the day’s events were less than enthralling and my back is absolutely killing me from standing in place for 4 hours shoulder to shoulder. But overall, I’m really glad I made it to witness this coming together of so many people from all over the country who really just want the nation to chill out. Facebook shows that many of my friends, representing both major parties, made the trek in for the rally and that makes me excited. Excited that we’ve still got it; we’ve still got sanity.
Were you there? Do you have any experiences, crazy signs or fun stories to share? Post in the comments below. And don’t forget to share your best pictures in the WLDC Flickr pool.