I just got back from the satellite Rally to Restory Sanity and/or Fear here in Chicago. I’ve been reading the confused articles leading up to the rally. Is it all about irony? Is it about moderation? Is it about progressive politics? Is this the millennial generation’s Woodstock?
After spending half an hour wondering around the edges of the rally here in Grant Park, it’s clear that those in attendance weren’t sure either. On the stage were Chicago progressive (trying their best to show enthusiasm and commitment to making a difference in challenging Chicago’s corrupt politics) competing with a Chicago comedians making jokes about sandwiches.
Alongside the stage was a muted jumbotron showing Comedy Central’s live coverage of the D.C. rally. The most unifying cry the crowd could get behind while I was there was shouting, “Audio! Audio!” when Jon Stewart came on screen. That’s right: They’d come to stand with thousands of other people in the middle of Grant Park on a beautiful October day so that they could all watch television together. And the funny thing is that they weren’t trying to be ironic.
Meanwhile, I saw some of my radical activist acquintances working the crowd for the Chicago Committee Against Political Repression to get out the word about FBI harassment of peace activists. I didn’t get the sense this was a hostile audience for them, but it didn’t seem particularly receptive either.
Eventually the Chicago rally hosts turned the audio on so we could watch Ozzy Ozborne interrupt Yusuf Islam singing Peace Train. Then they turned off the audio and went back to gamely trying to keep the audience’ attention here in Chicago. To which the audience let loose a round of boos. Don’t take away our television! It was a rally of dueling causes at many levels.
It was clear that there were lots of photographers and journalists sent to cover the rally. There were relatively few people signs or costumes, but everyone who did seemed to have a photographer standing next to them taking down names. This is one of those events that the “mainstream media” doesn’t know what to do with, but knows they have to be there.
Maybe the problem is that I’ve been jaded by attending so many rallies, protests and vigils where people actually care about stuff. Yep, that’s definitely my problem. What I really need is to get into the spirit of this zombie Abe Lincoln taking photos of the rally with his iPhone while holding his McDonald’s cup:
I guess if what you were looking for was funny signs and costumes, you would have been quite at home. Here are the ones I could find:
Cross-posted from As of Yet Untitled