Don't Die at the Crosswalk: A Ground-Level Report of the Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear
It was a crazy, hectic, chaotic mess, but a day made easier by the infallibility of good humor. From the man who ran around the rally yelling, "Marijuana is good medicine" to the various babies forced to hold signs, rally goers were never short of a memorable view, or at least something to Tweet about. Here's a recap of one reporter's rather insane experience at the Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear:
3:30 a.m.: Wake-up call, just enough time to leave room for the unpredictable G-train and a quick stop to grab mini-muffins.
4:30 a.m.: G-train isn't running. Naturally. Catch a cab, bribe the driver with extra cash, finally en route to Citi Field to catch the Huffington Post buses!
5:30 a.m.: Arrive at Citi Field. Thousands of people are waiting in line. Hope Arianna bought enough doughnuts. Most people are still drunk or hungover from the night before. Best sign so far:
6:30 a.m.: Huffington Post staffers estimate there are 10,000 people waiting to board the 210 buses they've provided for the day. Arianna Huffington trots around to greet the bundled masses waiting in line and signals the Huffington staffers to begin ushering groups through check-in. Wonder if they're paid.
7:30 a.m.: My bus finally takes off toward D.C. And, just as Arianna promised, there's enough food for everyone.
Some of the attendees are geniuses. As evidence: my bus-neighbor Scott, reading our most recent "Best Of" issue:
11:30 a.m.: Due to overcrowding on the interstates throughout Maryland and Delaware, Huffington buses have been notified they'll be arriving to the rally a bit late.
12:30 p.m.: Watching the rally from my iPhone.
1:00 p.m.: Finally to D.C., en route to rally. Huffington staffers greet us with the following: "Arianna Huffington welcomes you to D.C. Now please cross at the crosswalk and don't die." Wonder if they're paid to say that.
1:30 p.m.: Overheard from teenagers who jumped the metro turnstyle heading toward the rally:
"I don't pay shit. I don't pay for gas. I don't pay for snacks. And I don't pay for a $3.70 metrocard when we're only gonna be here for four fucking hours."
"Wow. D.C. subways are niceeee. Padded seats... carpet..."
"In recent news: the Washington subways were recently flooded with angry New Yorkers. D.C. locals are still trying to sort out why the carpet and seat cushions are missing. Little do they know the angry New Yorkers took them for their own shitty subways."
2:00 p.m.: Finally reach the National Mall. According to security guards, the inside rally has hit mass capacity. Looks like it's the outside circle from here on out! Phone has, just as one blogger predicted, died.
3:00 p.m.: Talk with various sign-holders, most of whom were hopeful for the results of the upcoming election and Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert's efforts to restore "sanity/fear."
Cynthia: "I'm here because I currently believe in sanity in the political process. I recognize that my children's generation tends to get much of their news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and while I worry about the tendency not to be involved, the tendency to distance one's self from the political, I appreciate the emphasis on sanity."
Amanda McCarty: "I think the rally is a little crazy, but everyone has been very polite -- there's been a lot of people coming together. I certainly hope for a positive effect following it to move us back in that right direction. People were sort of losing hope... we just needed a little pep rally to get everyone back on track."
Jamie: "I'm not sure how much effect the rally will have, but as long as we can show up Glenn Beck, that's the important thing."
4:00 p.m.: Head back to the Huffington Post bus after a long day of traveling, wandering, rallying, and hysterically laughing, excited to collapse into an uncomfortable charter bus seat and return to sanity.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.