Home > Opinions > YHC students wonder, am I sane and/or fearful?

YHC students wonder, am I sane and/or fearful?

November 1, 2010

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By Amy Dalton, Production Manager

“It’s the greatest, strongest county in the world. There’s no one more American than me,” sang Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Oct. 30, at the National Mall in Washington DC. Among the other 200,000 attendees, I went to Washington this weekend with four other friends to be a part of the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.”

It was about a 10-hour drive stuffed in a tiny car. Despite the cramped conditions, it was an amazing experience.  

Even though the news media presumed that the event would be too liberal, this was not the case.  Stewart and Colbert did a wonderful job of shifting the focus from being a political rally to a rally of unity.

My adventure started at 5 a.m. so that I could arrive at the Metro, which is Washington DC’s public transit system, when it opened at 7 a.m. From the Metro, we arrived at the mall around 8 a.m., where we secured a spot to stand while we waited for the rally to begin at noon.

While waiting, Christine Durniat, a sophomore outdoor leadership major from Snellville, left our spot briefly while she searched for free items.

To help the time go by faster and as a way to distract ourselves from the overwhelming number of people around us, we decided to be photographed with our favorite signs. These signs ranged from messages to legalize marijuana, such as a sign saying “Illegalize Pottery,” which folded inward says “Legalize Pot,” to signs that made statements about the current unemployment rates, such as “Is this the unemployment line?”

The rally began with a spirited performance by The Roots with John Legend. Then, Stewart introduced Colbert, who emerged from underneath the stage. This was staged as a reference to the Chilean miner incident.

Among other famous names, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, from Discovery Channel’s Myth Busters, performed experiments. Savage and Hyneman tested how much time it would take for the whole crowd to perform the wave. The scientists measured this by the seismic activity, which increased when everyone jumped at the same time.

My favorite part of the rally was when Father Guido Sarducci opened the rally with a benediction that asked God what the true religion was. Naturally, he received no conclusive evidence of ‘true’ religion.

Other entertainers such as Sam Waterson of Law and Order, participated in the event. Waterson read a poem called “Are You Sure?” by ‘the Reverend Sir Doctor Stephen T. Cobert D.F.A.’ This poem, read by Waterson, outlined all the fears one should have daily.

Stewart and Colbert continued the rally by introducing Cat Stevens and Ozzy Osbourne. The introduction resulted in a “train” song-off. Stevens started with “Peace Train,” which represented sanity. This performance was interrupted by Osbourne with “Crazy Train,” which represented fear.

When Osbourne came on stage, I freaked out. I screamed with excitement, because I never imagined that I would ever see him in a live performance.

 In the end, Osbourne and Stevens walked off arm-in-arm. The duo was replaced by the O’Jays, who performed “Love Train.” This number tied together the concepts of fear and sanity. I ended up holding hands with random strangers and feeling like this is what Woodstock must have been like.  

Despite the obvious crowd approval, Colbert was not accepting of the compromise at first, until Stewart explained love has fear with it, as well as STDs and heartbreak.

The last 30 minutes of the rally was a mix of spoofs and face offs. Stewart teamed up with the help of Peter Pan to face off with Stephen Colbert’s giant fear monster puppet. Peter Pan was played by Daily Show correspondent John Oliver. Anyone that knows me, understands that I have an obsession with Peter Pan. I was definitely the most enthusiastic person in the crowd when I saw Peter Pan’s green tights.

Hilarity aside, Stewart, in a moment of sincerity, brought things into perspective and explained why he held the rally.

“We live in hard times, not end times. The press is our immune systems. If they overreact to everything we get sicker. The country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator,” Stewart added, “did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder.”

Stewart also commented that Americans work together every day. Stewart compared the American life to that of cars trying to move from a multi-lane highway, while merging to go under the Potomac River.

We are all different, but in the end, “this is us-individuals filled with strong beliefs. Usually, in direct opposition of its fellow travelers, but they do it, concession by concession.”

It was with his closing response that I decided that if John Stewart had a religion, I would like to follow it. He articulated all of my feelings and painted a realistic picture of what is or is not fear.

The show was wrapped up with a two songs. One of the songs was performed by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow, while the other was “God Bless America” by Tony Bennett.

I had a great time at the rally in Washington DC, and I do believe that this event was a mark of my generation.

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