The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

The Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear

This weekend, I was lucky enough to take a whirlwind trip to DC for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear. It was awesome. We arrived on the Mall at about 9am, three hours ahead of the noon start time. There were already thousands of people milling around; it was hard to even comprehend. We found a spot and just sort of looked around at all the people near us, read their signs, laughed, took pictures, and waited. 

Around noon, The Roots came out and played some jams, followed by Adam and Jamie from Mythbusteers, who were there to do some large crowd experiments. Hilarious. We all made the same sound effects and jumped up and down and did the wave. 

The starpower at the rally could have been cooler, but was certainly awesome. [We really just kept praying for Gaga, but it's all right that this wasn't her thing.] It was amazing to see Yusuf Islam, Ozzy, Jeff Tweedy, Tony Bennet, and everyone else who played. There were a few too many slow jams to try and keep such a big crowd entertained, but peace rallies have hippy slow songs, so that sort of played into that. 

Jon and Stephen did all sorts of typical Jon and Stephen things. It was so unreal to see them standing up there, and hear them sing, haha. The Daily Show correspondents were there also, and hilarious as always. They did a demographic study of the crowd by asking four people for their names, hometowns, and ethnicities. They then declared the rally a perfect demographic representation of the United States. Hilarious.

What was really beautiful about the event, though, was Jon's little 15 minutes at the end. He came out for a bit of seriousness, and talked about how happy he was and how reassured he was to see all of us out there. His permit for the rally only allowed for 60,000 attendees, and the estimates are somewhere between 250,000 and 400,000. Oops? But awesome. As Jon said, it was really see how many people were there. We spend so much time watching 24 hour crazy news about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, that we never stop to think about how ridiculous it sounds. Stephen had played some montages earlier about everything in the world we have to be afraid of -- terrorists, robots, bed bugs, flip flops, democrats, republicans, homosexuals, airborne illness, you name it -- and showcased really how silly the warnings were. Jon reminded us that it takes courage to be reasonable, to not give in to the Fox News lies and the MSNBC exaggeration. We are guilty on both sides of the aisle.

To see 250,000+ people coming out to DC in support of reasonableness just made me feel so much better about the elections tomorrow. Sure, she's all over TV every day, but Christine O'Donnell is 20 points behind Chris Coons, according to the last CNN poll I looked at. That's an unwinnable margin. Sharon Angle may win in Nevada, but not a single member of the Senate will take her seriously when she suggests that citizens actually take up arms against their government once she gets there. If Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina manage to win their respective races, they'll be in for a rude awakening that running a state (or representing one) is not the same as running a corporation. And everyone will be glued to their televisions to watch them fall. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather see Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer (re-)elected, but if for some reason my state has a momentary lapse in critical thinking, at least we reasonable people will be around to say "I told you so" and put it right as soon as possible.

We feel like these Tea Partiers have so much power and so many supporters because they're the ones yelling the loudest. As Jon said on Saturday, "When we amplify everything, we hear nothing." But if we turn off the fearmongering yelling, coming mostly from the direction of Fox News, we are able to remember that this is the United States of America. As movie-president Andrew Shepard (from The American President) says:

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free. We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them."

And Tea Partiers are not serious people. These corporate Republican ladies are not serious people. But you and I, we are serious people. And we are going to get out and vote for serious people. Being at Jon Stewart's rally reminded me just how many serious people there are in this country, and how many of them are voting. They're teaching their children and reminding their friends of the importance of voting, and remembering that it is not only our right but our responsibility to go to the polls and make our voices heard. This rally restored my faith that, tomorrow, reasonable people of this nation will make their voices heard.

Almost forgot -- here's some cute pictures of me and my fam/friends at the Rally:

<3 <3 <3

Some sadness on election night.

Ron Weasley is the love of my life.