Sunday, October 31, 2010
invite to show solidarity among anyone who chooses to participate in downplaying the extremism fed to us by today's media. We're not at Civil War. We're simply desperate for objective information.
It was an afternoon of fun, interesting sights and civility in our nation's capital.
I'd like to tell you who I saw and what I heard, but I didn't arrive in DC until 10:30 AM. Knowing the Metro would be packed, most buses sold out and traffic truly insane, we chose to go by Amtrak. I live near BWI, and training in to Union Station was a breeze. Then we walked with lots of other folks to the Rally.
I'm pretty sure we actually did see Brendan Hines, who plays Eli Loker on Lie to Me, back at the BWI train station, but I didn't want to bug him. He's from Baltimore, so it's not out of the realm of possibilities. Yay! Celebrity sighting, and not just on a jumbo-tron.
I also saw a friend from work at the Rally, but she disappeared in the swarm before I could catch up to her.
I earned my first Foursquare badges, too. Not exactly a hippie moment, but the nerd in me was rejoicing.
The weather was fantastic. The atmosphere was true positivity. People smiling, displays of courtesy and lots of laughing - everyone was there to see the signs.
I was amused by a woman shouting "exact change only" at a food concession stand. Really? The lines were really, really long. I'd think after selling 200 hot dogs in 20 minutes, they'd have "change" again.
But never really planning this trip other than over a conversation Thursday night - "Hey, I was thinking about going to the Rally", and arriving so late, we couldn't get anywhere near, or even within earshot of, the stage. We got onto the lawn for a moment, but the density of people per square inch was tighter than [insert inappropriate sexual referene here] and just way too high for a 47-year-old who becomes a claustrophobe in crowds. At my age, personal space isn't just a right, it's a necessity. I was also carrying a small backpack for my camera, camcorder, cell phone, Kindle (WTF?) sweatshirt, mints - no, it's still not called a purse or a murse - that quickly became a hook for the swarms moving through, and I was spun faster than the "news". That was inside the gates. Outside the gates, where there were also lots of people but some breathing room, I was able to shoot some video, which may give you some perspective of the sheer numbers constantly pouring in. I'm not sure where they all ended up because this bitch was packed. But everyone seemed friendly and congenial.
This wasn't like a concert for me. I didn't need to see the stage, or be in any particular spot. I went because I wanted to be part of "it", whatever "it" was going to be. I love The Daily Show, and I like to believe most Americans are middle-of-the-road thinkers, who respect valid points from different perspectives, who support smart spending and helping neighbors when they need it, and appreciate a civil dialogue, even if it gets a little heated. I also assume they do not appreciate being force-fed hype, sensationalism or pure bullshit by spin-meisters from any side. And, there are a lot more than two sides.
I was hoping to hear the actual speeches, songs and stand-up routines, but I'm sure there's a DVD coming, and I'll be the first to buy it.
I'm glad I went. The dreamer in me hoped I would bump into Jon and the producers of The Daily Show, impress them with my wit and be invited to an after-party, and ultimately offered a writing gig. And a hot dog. But I didn't even bring a sign, let alone my résumé.
And yesterday wasn't about me. It was about us.