As most have heard by now, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear took place last weekend on the National Mall in Washington DC. With an estimated 215,000 people in attendance, the rally was billed as a gathering of moderates who are tired of the negativity and pessimism in American society and politics.
Two days prior to the rally, Middlebury Professor of Religion, James Davis, was quoted in an USA Today article on the subject of the rally and civility (coincidentally the topic of his latest book, In Defense of Civility). Davis argues that the rally with its “call to interreligious civility” is not a new concept but rather one “built into American social and political history.”
As an attendee of the rally, I can say it was a surprisingly civil event. You would think that with tons of people cramming into metro cars, no cell service, and hoards of people in the space of three blocks, panic would ensue. However, I found it to be quite the opposite. Any shoving or pushing was accompanied by a quick apology, conversations arose between strangers, and there was a general sense of positivity and dare I say, patriotism in the crowd.
Seems the idea of “pausing for sanity” is not something unique to MiddBlog but was something the whole country needed as well.