Rally From a Perch

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Oct. 31 2010 7:32 AM

Rally From a Perch

Today, my sister Hillary, who is now 30, met me at a Metro station in downtown Washington, D.C., so we could go walk to the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear, hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. It was our personal moment of zen – the first rally we’ve been to together since Hands Across America, 24 years ago. The rally was billed as a nonpolitical event. Who can argue with the need for sane and rational political discourse, one of Jon Stewart’s nightly rallying cries?

It wasn’t, as one reporter predicted, "a fiesta of self-congratulation ." The people we came across seemed determined to be polite, asking nicely before they photographed anyone’s costumed dog, and apologizing if they were forced to hold your sleeve to follow your path through the throng. Hillary and I found a perch where we could sit and observe the crowd, and discussed our favorite signs. Mine were "What’s with the airplane food?," "Capital letters mean I’m serious," and "Refudiate Insanity." Hers were "I still like Bret Favre," "I support this sign," and "Get a brain, Morans." (This last one was especially funny because my husband’s name is Moran.)

Advertisement

Since we could hear very little coming from the stage, we were puzzled when people on the steps around us started to stand up. Then we detected, very faintly, the notes of the "Star Spangled Banner." It was too far away to make out any of the words, but we recognized the bass vibrating through the air, and both rose. Eventually, we called a friend in Chinatown, just a few blocks away. She was watching the rally on television and told us what was happening on stage. So we walked to her apartment and sat down to enjoy the coverage on C-Span. It seemed like the sane, reasonable thing to do.

Alison Buckholtz is the author of Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War (Tarcher/Penguin 2009), which will be released in paperback this spring with a new afterword and reader's guide.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Politics

The Right to Run

If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 6:30 PM The Tragedies That Have Shaped Canada's Gun Politics
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 4:10 PM Skinny Mark Wahlberg Goes for an Oscar: The First Trailer for The Gambler
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.