Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity Signs and Pictures

Third Strike went to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear!

Held in D.C. on October 30, 2010, the rally was pitched as "a rally for people who don't have time to go to rallies." Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert brought their typical humor & charm while all sorts of signs were filled with everything from coherent "I'm for Sanity" signs to non-sequitors like "Liberals Blew up the Death Star".

Here were ours:
The sticker was given to us by an activist group... it says "Birth Control Matters"

This sign got a few glances with me holding it. For the few skeptics who questioned the fact that I am pregnant, given that I am-- in fact-- a man, I had a few responses ready:

1. Did you see that episode of Oprah? There was a pregnant man!
2. To quote Jurrasic Park... "Life will find a way."
3. Arnold Schwarzeneger did it in Junior back in '94!

Amanda didn't want to hold the sign. She abides by the Wizarding Statute of Secrecy.

Recently I discovered that signs actually have two sides. As a result, there was some extra room for diversified messages!

We needed at least one "On Topic" sign. I mean... to be reasonable.

Sadly, there were not many fans of my favorite Third Strike sign:
Does ANYONE get this joke???
"Stew-Beef" is the nickname Tracy Morgan gave to Jon Stewart on the Daily Show several months ago. "Where's the Beef?" obviously was both a Wendy's commercial slogan and Presidential campaign motto. Combining the two seemed like a moment of inspired sign-writing. Unfortunately, the joke seemed lost on... pretty much everyone. What can I say... sometimes a joke just falls flat. I stand by it!

The rally itself was incredible. It started with a powerhouse performance by the Roots and John Legend.

They gave us free towels!
 Other musical guests included surprise songs by Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) interrupted by Ozzy Osbourne and then the O'Jays. Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy all performed as well, even including a special green screen appearance by T.I. Jon Stewart made an attempt at singing with Stephen Colbert. It was in itself very funny.

The comedy was spectacular, true to the tone of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I recommend enjoying its full glory so that I might not have to fail doing it justice.

*Spoiler alert*: R2-D2 makes a cameo. Amazing. Oh, and also...

FEARZILLA!!! The Stephen Colbert Media Monster.

Lastly, I will take a page out of the rally book, and leave off this post with sincerity. Jon Stewart left his comedic rally with the powerful words that I will repeat here:

"So, what was this? I can't control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

Unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two... broke. The country's 24-hour politico pundit panic conflict-inator did not cause our problems. But its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus and illuminating problems heretofore unseen, or it can use its magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous-flaming-ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and tea partiers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rich Sanchez is an insult -- not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put forth the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything we actually get sicker... and perhaps eczema. Yet, that being said, I feel good. Strangely, calmly good, because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a funhouse mirror, and not the good kind that makes you slim in the waist and maybe taller -- but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass like a pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is -- on the brink of catastrophe -- torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don't is here or on cable TV. Americans don't live here or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don't live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do, but they do it. Impossible things every day that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make."

Stewart then plays a clip of cars merging before entering the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey

"Look, look on the screen. This is who we are."

"These cars -- that’s a school teacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high…there’s a mom with two kids who can’t think about anything else...another car, the lady’s in the NRA. She loves Oprah…An investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah…a Latino carpenter…a fundamentalist vacuum salesman…a Mormon Jay Z fan…But this is us. Everyone of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear -- often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile-long, 30-foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river…And they do it. Concession by concession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go -- oh my god, is that an NRA sticker on your car, is tha an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s OK. You go and then I’ll go…Sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together and the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and what I want from you I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me. Your presence was what I wanted. Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine. Thank you."

transcript by Rolling Stone & edited by The Third Strike.

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