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Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1

The stage for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall, just west of 3rd Street NW/SW.The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was a quasi-political rally held on October 30, 2010 in Washington DC featuring comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and sponsored by Comedy Central.  With both comedians’ shows being distinctly political, having a rally in Washington DC seemed a logical extension of the concept.  The rally was initially announced as two (intentionally) competing events – the Rally to Restore Sanity with Jon Stewart, and the Rally to Keep Fear Alive with Stephen Colbert.  Ultimately, these two events were combined into one single event on the National Mall, about four blocks west of the Capitol.

I went with my friend Kim, and in our attending the event, we both weren’t so much interested in what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had to say.  We were there primarily to people-watch.  As this was an event that was half serious political rally and half a satire of same, with Colbert explicitly asking that people dress up in costumes, we expected that the attendees would be amusingly dressed and carry interesting signs – more so than at a regular demonstration.  The attendees did not disappoint us, and we found ourselves laughing as we took in the sights of what was most definitely a fun event.  Signs and messages ran the full spectrum from outright satirical to totally serious, as well as lighthearted twists on otherwise serious messages, including Code Pink’s anti-war message, and a strong pro-marijuana message from a number of people.

Thus, in this photo set, you will not see Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.  Here, I present the attendees of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, who ultimately made this event the fun time that it turned out to be.

A woman hands out red "TEAM FEAR" signs and bullhorns. A woman wears a "Keep Fear Alive" shirt while holding a "TEAM SANITY" sign.
A woman hands out blue "TEAM SANITY" signs and bullhorns.
A woman in a wheelchair holds a sign reading, "I still function better than Congress". A person dressed as the Grim Reaper holds a sign reading, "Death thanks the GOP for its stance on healthcare reform.  You guys sure make my job easy."
A woman in a wheelchair holds a sign reading, "Seniors for Sanity".
The Trust for the National Mall hands out cards encouraging people to make a donation by text message. In addition, the cards themselves are embedded with grass seeds, and thus if discarded on the ground and allowed to degrade naturally, would spread grass seed on the Mall. A person wearing an Obama mask holds a sign encouraging people to "Sanitize Democracy".
Sign about witch trials, stating, "If she sinks, she's OK".
A mother and son hold up their signs.  The son's message is about being an "activated youth", while the mother's message is that the only thing to fear is "foxes and mama grizzlies". A woman wearing a green zentai (with the hood down) and a giant hat holds up a sign offering "Free Hugs for Liberals".
A woman holds a sign reading, "All we are saying is give smart a chance."
A man holds two signs - one reminding everyone why it's important to spell the messages on your protest signs correctly, and the other about minorities. Sign reading, "This sign mocks extremists in a witty and humorous manner," while also poking fun at misspelled protest signs.
Another sign reminds people to always make sure that their protest sign messages are spelled correctly.
A woman holds a protest sign encouraging sanity by not using religion to justify hatred. A person holds a sign advocating for accountability.
A group meditates while advocating for the release of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
A couple holds opposing banners.  One person holds a banner stating "DON'T PANIC", while the other holds a banner stating, "OH GOD PANIC". A woman holds a sign reading, "Beck!  Go FOX yourself."
A man holds a sign challenging right-wingers' interpretation of evolution.
In a spoof of the typical chant of "What do we want?  [Whatever]!  When do we want it?  NOW!" a man holds a sign saying, "What do we want?  Moderation!  When do we want it?  In a reasonable time frame." Spoofing Jimmy McMillan's "Rent Is Too Damn High Party", this protest sign advertises "The Fear Is Too Damn High Party".
A sign makes fun of the "fear" concept with its message of "Phobophobiacs unite!"  Phobophobia is the fear of fear.
A man spoofs then-House Minority Leader John Boehner with an orange-painted face, and a sign encouraging viewers to guess who he is supposed to be. A man spoofs then-House Minority Leader John Boehner with an orange-painted face, and a sign encouraging viewers to guess who he is supposed to be.
A man spoofs then-House Minority Leader John Boehner with an orange-painted face, and a sign encouraging viewers to guess who he is supposed to be.
A person dresses in a "Metal as F---" robot costume. A person dresses in a "Metal as F---" robot costume.
A person dresses in a "Metal as F---" robot costume.
A sign spoofing Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the Fox News "Fair and Balanced" slogan. A woman dresses as a witch while spoofing then-Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell with her protest sign.
A woman dresses as a witch, spoofing then-Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell.
A woman wears a jester outfit while holding up a sign advocating for Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face from the DC Comics universe. A man dresses as Quail Man from the television series Doug. I was quite impressed by this costume - he really did look like a grown up version of Doug Funnie from the television series!
A man dresses in green tights, white shoes, a pink tutu, a green jacket, black shirt, and white tie, and has his face painted green. I don't know what else to say about this outfit.
Anonymous was present as well, with two Anons wearing Guy Fawkes masks out trolling the crowd with their "ANGRY SIGN" messages. A man holds a pro-marijuana sign.
A man holds a sign containing the {{citation needed}} template from Wikipedia.
The "Swine Flu Avenger" makes an appearance in Washington DC, in trademark safety vest, gloves, hard hat, and gas mask. A row of portable toilets - one of many provided all around the event for attendees.
The message "Frustrated Arizonans Rejecting Tea" forms a humorous acronym.
Crowds on the Mall. The view from behind the state, with various cars and VIP tents.
Crowds on the Mall.
A woman wears a Sarah Palin mask with an added Hitler mustache. A man in a business suit holds a sign indicating that Barack Obama and Glenn Beck both are not Adolf Hitler.
A man wears a shirt saying, "I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler".
Two men in banana costumes carried signs with banana-related themes. A man dressed as Skeletor from Masters of the Universe portrays He-Man as a socialist (or something), complete with Hitler mustache.
A man wearing an Aperture Science (from Portal) lab coat holds a sign reading, "Fight Science with Wood!"
A woman wears cotton batting on her outfit. Two people dressed as flowers spread a pro-recycling message.
A woman wears a green banana costume while also holding a hookah in one hand.

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Part 1