Gen and I dressed up as Suffragettes and went to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Saturday, and it was awesome.
(Gen took the pictures, and hasn't put them up yet, but I found some others on Flickr. This one is my fave.)
(Yes, I steampunked my Victorian.)
I made the sashes on Friday, and true to being a costume geek, I flat-felled all the seams, and they ended up taking me about 5 hours. It was worth it, though, as we got a hugely positive reception at the rally, and tons of people took our picture.
I know the MSM is playing off the rally as a silly stunt (understandably, since their panic-mongering reportage came under attack from Stewart), but it was actually really amazing. A lot of people (215,000; Beck's rally only pulled in 90,000, for comparison) showed up to voice their support for a more truthful and moderate media, for the moderate voice, for the mainstream voters who really believe in a better future, and don't buy into the lies and hate and hysteria we're being fed by the press (I'm looking at you, Fox, CNN, and cable news networks).
Contrary to the predictions by such Rand apologists as Anne Althouse, there was no violence, no riot, no tear-gassing, and no geese pooping in the reflecting pool. Unlike the violent rhetoric espoused by the hard right-wing, the atmosphere was really, really positive. Everyone was polite, there was a general mood of awareness and consideration for everyone. At one point we were negotiating a gridlock of people (215,000 people in one place gets crowded), and a small child (about 8 years old, I'm guessing) with her mother were right in front of me - the kid was getting a little buffetted, since people weren't seeing her in the press, and I started saying "small kid, coming through!" and people laughed and made way for her. It was that kind of day. Thoughtful, responsible, caring.
We got photographed a lot - and interviewed, though I don't think anyone will air our thoughts, since I'm sure we sounded silly. We ended every interview with "John Stewart rocks!!". But it was a marvellous, marvellous day. The weather was incredible, just gorgeous, and perfect for dressing up and enjoying the outdoors. There were recycling points, so I was even able to recycle my sign before leaving. In fact, it stayed amazingly un-littered all day, especially at the end, when Stewart asked everyone to pick up their litter and not leave a mess. I've seen it messier after a regular Saturday. There were, of course, long lines for everything (and people remained polite, and I didn't see any line jumpers), and I think they really underestimated the number of people who would come, since the official Rally food stands ran out of hot dogs (and everything else). We ended up getting some really tasty food from a vendor outside the Museum of the American Indian.
Unfortunately, as much fun as I had, the day broke me. I crashed around 9:30pm, and didn't even notice when Bob came to bed, and the next day (and today - I'm working from home) was ultra-painful. I can't believe just walking around and holding a piece of light poster board could hurt me so badly, but it did. I'm beginning to think that maybe I do have Fibromyalgia, after all. I'm certainly tired and painful almost all the time, and a gentle day of cruising the Mall shouldn't cause me to lose the next two days.
But I don't care - the point of going to the rally was to show support for reasonable politics, and to show that there are lots of people who are fed up with the media circus we have now. I wanted to be there, another body to add to the masses, and it was an amazing experience. The last time I attended a really large demonstration was in the 1970s, in England, when we marched for peace and against nuclear weapons. The atmosphere was very similar, in fact - happy, but concerned people banding together in peace and empathy, feeling a shared bond and a shared purpose, in a non-violent protest against the status quo.
One of the things I'm very tired of in the media is the false equivalency they try to make between the right and the left - they take every instance of violence on the hard right, and try to find its equal on the left, and they can't, so they draw parallels where none exist. The extreme right is a party of violence, of cruelty and repression of dissent by force (TW for violence). The left isn't anything like the right, and all of us in the middle who keep being cast as extreme lefties? We. Don't. Condone. Violence.
The extremists on the right scare me - it's like they read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and thought it was a how-to manual. The really extreme right won't be satisfied until they create a theocracy where dissent is punishable by torture or death, and women and minorities are enslaved again (or refused entry and deported, regardless of citizenship). They are encouraged by pundits like John Derbyshire, who think women should not be allowed to vote. They are heartened by politicians who think single women and gays should not be allowed to be teachers. They want to repeal all the government programs that help poor people, and enshrine the programs that allow the super-rich to get richer, even when they'll be negatively affected by the decisions. And they're funded by the super-rich, who want the US to be a corporate nation, ruled by business and the "free" market (as long as the market is heavily swayed in their favour, i.e., crony capitalism). Like I said, they scare me. And they should not be dominating public discourse.
Saturday was a beautiful thing - a rally for decency, for kindness, for moderation and social justice.
If only we could carry that forward to Tuesday and get all the people who support the same ideals to get out of their chairs and vote. If you don't vote, you get the government you deserve - or a government that other people have bought off. Don't let that happen.