At one point, the Stewart-Colbert crowd was urged to jump up in unison to get a seismic reading (no luck), recalling the day in 1967 when Vietnam protesters tried to levitate the Pentagon by chanting at it.
That didn’t work, either. Washington is hard to move at any time for any reason, particularly sanity.
For a long-time observer of such events now reduced to watching on TV, this assemblage seemed placid compared to the time we came down on buses with the righteous satisfaction of bonding together to stop others from being killed and Norman Mailer would write an operatic book about it, “The Armies of the Night,” that won a Pulitzer Prize.
A full hour of rock and rap before Stewart and Colbert appeared did not herald serious intention and must have persuaded any Tea Partiers who tuned in to scoff at what looked like another pleasure-seeking enterprise of the young and ethnic.
By the time Jon Stewart got around to articulating the point of the gathering, some minds and hearts may have been turned drowsy by what had been billed as “a Woodstock for the millennial generation.”
But Stewart’s take on Sanity was moving: “To see you here today and the kind of people that you are, has restored mine.
“What exactly was this? This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies… ”