City Desk

Live from the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear!

Today is the day !  Keep this post open for live updates from Washington City Paper staffers at the rally on the Mall. Also, follow us on Twitter at @wcp for more.

10:00 am:

It's a sunny day in the District — seems like a fine time for an ironic protest. We'll be bringing you live coverage here all day, or at least until the cell phone networks conk out. (And when that does happen, we'll make our way to the press area for the WiFi. And the free booze.)

Reports on Twitter seem to indicate that a ton of people are already on the Mall. Which doesn't seem very sane; nothing starts until noon. See you down there soon...

10:55 am:

There is a woman wearing a sheep costume in the Georgia Avenue Metro stop. That is all.

11:01 am:

If you're planning to board the Green Line south of Petworth... Don't.

11:20 am:

Cops not feeling the love at 7th and Constitution. 'Get out of the street! If you're in the street, get back on the sidewalk!'
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

11:33 am:

Rallygoers who slept in — I'm one of them — are out of luck. On 16th Street by Columbia Heights, buses are too full too stop. Metro's not even an option at this point. And so we're walking. See you in an hour, HuffPo-transported legions!

11:33 am:

Pre-rally crowds are flowing out of the Archives station, where they're bumping into...D.C. voting rights activists. "D.C. can't vote, that's insane," says one of the guys seeking petition signatures. They're wearing hippo outfits. Is this good for the cause? I can't tell. Other people nearby have sign that read "God Hates Figs" and "Give Fear a Chance." A group of pretend activ=
ists just sidled up alongside, with signs advertising a brewery. Which is just to say the vibe is somewhat less than 100 percent moral seriousness. On the other hand, they're handing out posters, some of which will presumably wind up on TV. You take your branding opportunities where you can get em, I guess.

11:38 am:

The folly of not working with WABA to set up bike racks is quickly becoming apparent–bikes are locked to every tree, post, and bench from the capitol to like 14th street. And there are literally too many people to maneuver in between the with one.

11:57 am:

Lots of confused-looking journalists looking for the mall's vaunted wireless. (Including this one.)

12:02 pm:

Dear lord. Almost got doored by a porta potty. It's dangerous out here.

12:07 pm:

My journey with the 16th Street death march continues. The line for coffee at the 16th and K Starbucks is massive, but I don't see any would-be fake protesters going next door for coffee at Burger King. It's a watery brew, but desperate times!

12:14 pm:

I'm seeing a lot of red bull and venti coffee cups in this crowd. Looks like there were a lot of rough nights.

12:32 pm:

Took me 30 minutes to get out of the Metro, and another hour (and counting) to meet up with various colleagues. I have to admit I didn't think there'd be anywhere near this many people. Is there a college-educated white person who lives on the East Coast who hasn't descended on the District today?

12:48 pm:

Code Pink found a way to fit themselves in: Alice in Wonderland-themed brigade chanting 'we're not crazy, war's insane.' It's a bit of a hard dance, right, for an actual cause: How to get your point across without spoiling the apolitical party?

12:49 pm:

The MythBusters must have read our memo about how to laugh here; they just got the entire crowd to laugh politely. (But not genuinely?)

12:59 pm:

Band in Captain America suits pounding Bud Lights. This will not end well.

1:39 pm:

Lots of people leaving south of the mall. Maybe enough will vacate that i'll actually be able to see the last part of the show.

1:48 pm:

The National Gallery of Art is pretty packed — although most of the people here, a volunteer tells me, are looking for bathrooms or food. A faux protester chatted up the volunteer at the info desk. "This is going to be a rally people talk about for years," he said. The volunteer — with a big white beard, benevolent eyes — bit his lip and smiled.

2:14 pm:

I got bored, I went home, and now I'm putting on my satirical music critic hat. Kid Rock is right that it's ironic that he's the guy singing the serious song. This is the one situation in my life, ever, that I've wanted to hear "Bawitdaba."

3:36 pm:

I'm now set up at the National Press Club for Jon Stewart's post-rally press conference, which would probably be more interesting if any cable news bigwigs showed up to listen to him deplore them. Chances are... they won't.

3:59 pm:

Christiane Amanpour is here at the Jon Stewart press conference. No other big-time TV types to get lambasted. Fox News: Never around when you need it.

5:12 pm:

The rally had a lot of the signs and signifiers of a social movement — people gathering, chanting, waving signs — but the content was basically that of... a corporate TV production. Which, of course, was what it was.

But there did seem to be a bit of a gap between the utterly apolitical content on the stage and the political energy in the crowd. So I asked Stewart and Colbert afterwards a basic question: "Do you guys think people should vote?"

They couldn't bring themselves to say yes. Stewart said: "I think people should do what moves them, and that's not my place to make that choice for them."

Which is fine; the march was just entertainment. But it did kind of give the impression that it wanted you to think it was something else.

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  • razor44

    sounds like the crowd has already irritated the cops. probably because the stench of arrogance is so strong... or is that weed?

  • Katie

    @razor... or it could just be because there is an insane number of people there... and that in itself will irritate the cops.

  • Rick Mangus

    I must say I haven't seen so many white people since the Glenn Beck and the Tea Party rally, "Privilege Has It's Rewards"!

  • tired

    Oh please razor44 and Rick this is the American people speaking and you loony tea baggers need to listen. These are intelligent people and having their voices heard, I am just sorry that I was unable to attend. Definately next time though.

  • Rick Mangus

    'tired', I am not a tea party idiot, I can't stand them! I was pointing out a simple observation of fact!

  • Typical DC BS

    Stewart's comment at the end of this article shows he really is an idiot. If you don't vote, you have no right to piss and moan. I get tired of people who rant and rave, then have the gall to say they didn't vote.

    MAKE SURE YOU VOTE TOMORROW!

  • Rick Mangus

    'Typical DC BS', you are right and dead-on with that comment. DON'T VOTE, DON'T BITCH!

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