The Geeky family headed out Saturday morning to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. We made a sign that said, “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself . . . and zombies.” The other side said, “Why can’t we just get along? Humans + zombies = <3″ I wanted to make a sign that said, “This is not a sign.” But I ran out of time. I saw that sign there anyway.
We left our house at 8:30 a.m. (1/2 hour later than planned) and did not arrive on the mall itself until 1:45. Four hours of driving, 1 hour line at the metro, 20 minute metro ride and then, voila, we poured out onto the street along with several thousand other people. It was quite the experience. I’m not going to say it was earth shattering because it wasn’t, but it was fun. Surrounded by thousands of people, I laughed and clapped and w00ted along. There were lots of different kinds of people, different ages, different races, different political views. As we left the rally and wandered around to see the aftermath, people were sitting on stairs and curbs and walls, holding their signs, nodding as people laughed at them. At one corner, a guy on top of a streetlight shouted out state names and people on the street yelled when they heard theirs. The wait for food at any restaurant within about a 2-mile radius was about 2 hours. A couple of places ran out of food. No one cared too much. They shrugged and tried the next place.
Over at 11D, Laura thinks the rally sounded boring, and disturbingly a-political. And maybe it was, a little. I felt no outrage or even earnestness, and I don’t think many other people did either. As Sullivan says, in his piece, most of the people there feel weird about belonging to any group. This group was for those people. I told Mr. Geeky on the way home that it seemed like this was the collection of people who had no where to go in high school or college. They weren’t jocks or cheerleaders or even completely geeks or brainiacs. They never quite fit anywhere, or they never wanted to, more likely. I served as judge of elections for a reason, because I believe the election process should be fair and I liked playing a role in making it so. I still believe that voting is the most powerful thing one can do. The things I’m most upset about right now are things that take away that power from the people. Citizens United and general campaign financing issues are at the top of my list of problems in America right now. Could the rally have focused on those or other issues? Sure. But my issues are not the same as everyone else’s. From the signs, what I gathered were big issues were legalizing pot, legalizing gay marriage, and not hating on the muslims.
There’s debate in the comments about whether those folks who attended the rally were politically active. Not every person has to volunteer for a campaign or participate in a get out the vote drive to be active. I suspect that many of the people there were informed about the issues. You could probably ask any one of them who was running for office in their area and they could tell and tell you what the issues were and where the candidates stood on them. To me, that’s being active. That’s thinking about what your choices are and what you think is the best option for the country (often driven by personal needs and desires, of course). And those people will vote. That’s more than many people will do.
I have to say, I know I’ve changed a few minds over the years just by being reasonable when discussing politics. I leave my mind pretty open for the same. If someone comes in with a reasonable argument–and Obama is a socialist is not a reasonable argument–I might change my mind, too.