I wish I could go!

‘Rally to Restore Sanity’

Jon Stewart (shown) has inspired shadow rallies across the country. | AP Photo

Jon Stewart (shown) has inspired shadow rallies across the country. | Photo by AP PhotoClose
By NATASHA LENNARD | 10/12/10 4:30 AM EDT Updated: 10/12/10 4:28 PM EDT

Soon after Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity was announced, a handful of satellite rallies were announced via Facebook. Now there are shadow rallies planned in 47 states and six foreign countries for October 30, according to rallymao.com, and predicted attendance numbers keep climbing. It seems the world is going crazy for sanity.


POLITICO spoke to organizers for a few of the farther-flung rallies to find out why Stewart’s event is resonating so far and wide.

Amy Lee, along with her friend Ashley Wright, is organizing the Los Angeles-based Rally to Restore Sanity.


“A couple of weeks ago, while we were having dinner together, we were talking about how much we wanted to go to the D.C. rally,” wrote Lee, a 38 year-old who works in production and H.R, and Wright, a 32 year-old post-doctoral biology scholar at Caltech, in an e-mail. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford the time and money it would take to travel all the way to the East Coast.” They said that within two weeks of setting up a Facebook page for their event, 2,500 people had signed up to support a rally at L.A.’s Pershing Square.*


“We are Jon Stewart fans who love the spirit of the D.C. rally to ‘Take it Down a Notch for America’,” Lee and Wright added. The pair, along with a number of volunteer organizers, are trying to raise funds for a LED Screen to broadcast the main D.C. event to the crowd.


Similarly, Alaskan Blake Merrifield, a 38-year-old construction worker, told POLITICO that he hopes the Wasilla-based rally he has planned will give some Alaskans a brief respite from the extremes of the current political dialogue.


“For us this is a temporary cease-fire in a particularly hostile political season. It is a chance for the community to get together and have a laugh and a smile at the absurdity that is politics and media today,” Merrifield said.


Although the Wasilla rally will be small (100 to 200 attendees are expected), Merrifield explained that he feels it’s an important event for the small town where Sarah Palin spent much of her childhood and won the Miss Wasilla 1984 pageant.


“After all, the term ‘death panel’ originated from our sleepy little hamlet,” said Merrifield.


The Wasilla rally is starting at 8 a.m. so that the D.C. rally can be broadcast live to the crowd. For some satellite rallies, however, such synchronicity will not be possible.


Fourteen hours prior to the D.C. event, Scott Stevens, a 48-year-old Las Vegas show manager, will meet with a dozen others at an altitude of 17,590 feet to celebrate sanity at Mount Everest’s base camp in Nepal. “What better place to hold a satellite rally than at the top of the world?!” Stevens e-mailed.


Stevens added that that the group (plus anyone else at base camp wanting to join in) will also hold an open forum discussion, where attendees can talk politics. They will then hang Tibetan “prayer flags” carrying messages from friends and family. (Tibetans believe that prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion across the world.)


“I hope we can use the wind at the top of the world to spread some badly needed wisdom,” said Stevens.


Less exotic: others have begun to organize so they can show solidarity with the Rally to Restore Sanity from the comfort of their own homes.


The website www.Restore-Sanity.com was developed, according to co-creator Erica Zeitlin, to let “America’s far flung – or just lazy – attend a Virtual Rally to Restore Sanity via petition.” The site also serves as a central resource for other satellite rallies.


Although the website’s creators joke about the site encouraging apathy, they told POLITICO that they believe strongly in the power of Internet activism.


“Any modern-day grassroots movement seeking to have an impact must focus on the using the Internet,” said Change.org’s Matthew Slutsky, who helped develop the virtual rally petition. “Online organizers elected the President of the United States and we’re going to use the power of the Change.org tool to help restore sanity this fall.”


Meanwhile, the number of rally-goers expected in Washington on October 30th continues to grow, with the event’s Facebook profile listing nearly 200,000 expected attendees.

*UPDATE: This article originally reported that the L.A. rally would be held outside the Federal Building. Due to the size of the anticipated crowd,organizers told POLITICO on Tuesday morning that the rally location had been moved to Pershing Sq

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28 Responses to I wish I could go!

  1. I want to too! There’s a satellite one in San Francisco, but it revs up at 9 a.m. I don’t know if I want to get up that early to attend it (lol lazy), but I’ll definitely tune in for the live TV coverage.

  2. Kzinti says:

    Had it been Insanity, that would have gotten me excited. Insane in the membrane…

  3. Jaypo says:

    I came within an inch of going, with a friend at work. But she ran out of vacation time and my $$ is in the pits right now… but boy, did we dream about it for a couple of weeks!!

  4. Jaypo says:

    OH, and the best part–between him and Colbert, they’ve taken all the huffn’puff out of Glen Shtick’s sails!

  5. Emmi says:

    Pfft. No way I’m going to that rally, they don’t even allow me to bring a gun. 😉

    Thanks for reminding me, I went to the site and signed the petition, did a Tweet, wish I could be there too but maybe someone in our region will do a local rally. New England is seriously lacking in representatives for this thing!!

  6. Snowy says:

    Wishing them every success, Lauri.

  7. geologywoman says:

    Lovely! Great news! Can anyone tell me why there are so many stupid people who think Sarah Palin is intelligent?

  8. MsRedPen says:

    “It seems the world is going crazy for sanity.”

    Well, the world’s going crazy, that’s for sure. If only it was for sanity. Wish I could go to the rally.

    • Lauri says:

      Oh me, too. As my hubby points out, part of the problem with these “rallies” is that most “normal” sane people have jobs and families and responsibilities. Therefore all the lunatics can show up for all the fringe rallies and it makes the population look like we are all made up of lunatics when really we are home working.

      That’s why I wish I could go rally to restore sanity. But…I will be working!
      I’ll do all the online stuff I can though! 🙂

  9. capnstephel says:

    I wish I could go to the big one in DC as well! Maybe I’ll go to the one in Denver..

  10. GOF says:

    Thanks for making me aware Lauri…..just checked out the link.

  11. paikea says:

    i wanna go, too! – i’ll “share this thing” everywhere !

  12. Aussie Emjay says:

    I’m going! I’m really going! Though I’m a bit worried about the porta-loo situation (shortage apparently!). …….

    • geologywoman says:

      Hurray for you, I am chuffed. Porta-loos, yeah. Yuck.

    • Lauri says:

      Hooray! Emjay can get the pics so we will all feel as if we were there!!!

      Hmm…..porta-loos…..go on a two day water fast before the rally! No peeing necessary! (kidding…that would not be good).

      I’m wondering about this porta-loo shortage. Are the loo guys Teabaggers?!? Conspiracy??? I didn’t hear about a shortage for Glenn Beck’s rally. Oh, yeah, there were really only 100 people there. 😉

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