I milled around for about an hour this afternoon with the crowd at Jon Stewart’s rally here in Washington. It was enormous. I can’t really compare it to the size of the crowd at Glenn Beck’s rally because the venue was different, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were comparable in terms of attendance.
They weren’t comparable in any other apparent respect. This was a predominantly young crowd, and the event had a pre-Halloween feel to it. To some extent, it was a bit of a masquerade — leftists dressed up as “sensible centrists.” On the day, however, most of the crowd seemed just to want to have fun.
The signs were the tip-off to the incoherence of the enterprise — a rally to end the immoderate madness by labeling partisans (at least those on the opposite side of the spectrum) insane. Some signs heaped ridicule on conservatives, while others called for civility. Some were premised on the supposed intellectual superiority of its holder; others were intentionally stupid. Only a few spoke to substantive issues. Very, very few mentioned President Obama.
Here, in order, are the first few dozen signs I saw:
Death to the Extremists
Remember the Maine
Free Lohan Now
Refudiate and unload
Chill Baby Chill
I feel strongly both ways
I have a sign
Stop oppression for minorities in America now
Palin is grizzly (down there)
God hates these signs
The day of non-judgment is coming
I want my mommy
Tea-baggers, pay your taxes
The rent is higher than would be ideal
If you can read this sign thank taxes [the true spirit of statism, that]
Atheist (on a picture of Thomas Jefferson)
Canadians for not much
Hi Mom, I’m an atheist
Bacon, it’s our national candy
I like turtles
Adolph Hitler — that guy was a Nazi
I’ve been hiding from tea baggers
Willful ignorance is a communicable disease
Please read a book
I’m tea-bagging for reason
What do we want? Brains
O-Bomb-a drama — mass murder is his game
Defend Obama — outlaw white supremacy
More reason; less volume please
Where’s the candy
We’re becoming a nation of whimpering slaves to fear
I believe in dinosaurs
Made in China (written on a U.S. map)
Dialog not diatribes
The event seemed poorly organized. Unlike at Beck’s rally, where the speaker systems were great, people towards the back of this rally couldn’t hear what was being said on the stage, at least during the warm up acts. Maybe things changed after the serious irony commenced.
I left soon after the playing of the National Anthem, which wasn’t observed with the kind of respect one might have hoped for where I was standing. My commitment to informing our readers is strong, but it is not boundless.