When I decided to attend American University for college over six years ago, one of the first things my dad said to me was, "You'll get to see a Presidential Inauguration! How cool!"
As an individual who has never been too into politics and sees our democracy more as something that tears people apart than brings them together, the whole "seeing a Presidential Inauguration" didn't seem too cool at the time. The history nerd dwelling deep inside my cerebral cortex, however, was running rampant with eager excitement.
"A chance to see living history," my inner-self proclaimed, "sign me up!"
Unfortunately, my father passed away days before President Obama's inauguration during my senior year of college and his funeral was on Inauguration Day. I never saw the inauguration live like my dad said I would. Instead, I spent that special day in Chicago with the man who told me how cool my first presidential inauguration in DC was going to be -- while at his funeral.
The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was my first foray into attending a major event on the National Mall. For several of my friends, this was far more fun than the historic inauguration due to miserably frigid winter temperatures during Obama's speech. For me, it was the perfect introduction to how many people in this country actually know how to chill out and have a good time.
And to think I almost didn't go because I was tired. That seems so silly in retrospect:
It took nearly an hour and a half to commute from Tenleytown in NW DC to reach the site of the rally. After three packed-to-capacity rail cars passed the hundreds of people impatiently waiting to step foot onto a train, my friends and I hopped on a train headed toward Maryland, got off four stops later, and then waited about another 20 minutes for a train back into the city. Along the way, we made a few “friends” from out of town. One even over heard me asking my friends for a piece of gum and a complete stranger asked me if I would like a piece. Everyone was in such high spirits. I think Jon Stewart’s goal of getting America to chill out a little was the tone set for all in attendance. I’ve never seen more people in one place in my entire life. The National Mall was a sea of people that felt like a never-ending mosh pit. There was an overall jolly atmosphere surrounding Washington. Everyone, as far as I could tell, was having fun. I think that’s the most important thing to take away from the rally itself — that we really can all get along sometimes if we just take a minute to chill out and have a good laugh.
-- Excerpt from "We Love Rallies: We Love DC Reactions to the Rally To Restore Sanity" on We Love DC.
After trying to push our way through the crowd for over an hour, my friends and I fled the mall and walked through the streets of Washington with wonder while people-watching for the rest of the day.
Thanks Comedy Central for entertaining District residents and the country this weekend, it was a nice reminder to relax and enjoy the fact that we can even host such rallies. The fact that our country and government allows for such a farce of a rally to even occur is living proof that we're pretty awesome here in America.