Thousands of people gathered on the National Mall to hopefully restore sanity in America, and just have some fun. There is no official number of how many people attended but it is said that over 250,000 attended. Stephen Colbert estimated the size of the crowd to be at least 6 Billion on his Twitter! The event kicked off with a performance by The Roots and John Legend, before Jon Stewart came out, followed by Stephen and many other stars.
1. There were rumors that The Boss himself would show up, but there was no Bruce Springsteen. John Legend and The Roots performed for about an hour, getting political with songs “I Can’t Write Left Handed.” I love The Roots and they are quickly becoming “America’s Band.”
2. I was Team Stewart, but for a couple of minutes I was Team Colbert when Ozzy Osbourne was brought out to sing his hit “Crazy Train” while Yusaf Islam (better known as Cat Stevens) was singing his 1971 song “Peace Train.” The fact that someone even thought this up is amazing. Islam and Osbourne sang their songs until they were joined onstage by the O’Jays who performed “Love Train.”
3. Stephen Colbert emerging from the stage like a Chilean miner. Right after a pre-taped video message of him from “underground.” The Evel Knievel costume made it even more special.
4. Matching American flad pull over fleece jackets. So tacky and so right.
6. Sam Waterson reading a poem written by Colbert, that may have been co-written by Dr. Seuss.
7. Colbert and Stewart both handed out medals, Jon giving one to Velma Hart who disagreed, respectfully, with the President at a town hall meeting. If only I could get a ‘Medal of Reasonableness’ every time I let someone go ahead of me in line and then they end up taking forever.
8. The sing a long at the end. Tony Bennett appeared to sing his rendition of “American The Beautiful” and then everyone gathered on stage to sing with Mavis Staples to “I’ll Take You There.”
9. The Signs!
Stewart’s closing message was simple, but profound. “If we amplify everything, we hear nothing,” he said. “Americans don’t live on cable TV… most Americans don’t live their lives as Democrats or Republicans or liberals or conservatives. Most live their lives as people a little bit late for something they have to do… making little, reasonable compromises we all make… we have to work together to get from the darkness to the light.”
There was no agenda, no one was pushing a message that everyone couldn’t live by. It was a fun event, meant to calm everyone down. I’m sure it was no coincidence that this was held the weekend before the midterm elections. At a press conference after the event, Stephen and Jon revealed that they had been planning the rally since March.
I hope they do something like this again–that is, hoping that people chill out and we won’t need to restore sanity.