Monday, November 1, 2010

Rally in DC

So, my first post this month will just be a quick tour through my experience at the Rally to Restore Sanity this past Saturday in D.C.

Originally when the announcement for the rally was made I had many friends from all over who were interested in attending. We live close to D.C. so our house could become Hotel L. for the weekend. But unfortunately the weekend was also Halloween and said friends also felt that (understandable) parental obligation to their kids for the weekend festivities.

The Mister insisted that I go along and enjoy the day visiting museums and then stay for the rally. He and the kids had Halloween-y plans anyway. I knew other groups of friends were going and made plans to meet up with them throughout the day. Upon waking to our first truly frosty autumn morning, I layered up my clothes and jumped in the Red Monster to head down to the closest Metro station. I was excited that it was early and I would clearly have lots of time to enjoy myself.

On exiting the beltway I saw this mass of humanity arranged in a rather orderly line at the Metro station. The queue had to be at least a 1/4 mile long. But again, because it was early we got through at a decent clip. Everyone was chatting and chilly - happy to be experiencing the day. As the Metro pulled out we saw a very long traffic jam to get into the parking lot. I heard later that this was the beginning of the daylong jam.

Enough has been written about the day, but I truly was thrilled to be there. I got a rather decent spot up front where I could see the stage and bopped along to the Roots and then I got antsy. I was getting a little claustrophobic (being short in a crowd can do that) plus the journalist side of me really wanted to do a walkabout and take in the day. I sensed a lot was going on back behind the stagefront crowd and I was right.

There was no hope of meeting up with friends as the phone service was jammed so texts and phone calls weren't going through. I did go to a designated meeting spot but didn't find anyone at our set times Later we compared notes and we were all at opposite ends at different times.

At 2pm I was amazed to still see hundreds upon hundreds of people still streaming in from the Washington Monument side of the mall. The Metro stops were still massed with crowds arriving. At the end, the official count was 215,000 to 250,000. This total definitely doesn't take into account those that remained in the closed off streets, never making their way down to the mall area.

The best part of the day was definitely taking in the vibe of the crowd and the funny, poignant and apolitical signage. See a gallery of some here and here and here.