Sanity Prevails on Fountain Square

CityBeat would like to thank everyone who joined us Saturday afternoon on Fountain Square for the broadcast of Comedy Central's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. We had no idea how many of you would venture down to the Square for a healthy dose of hot food, cold beverages and comedy from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but we were very pleased with the turnout. A nice crowd indeed. I'd even call it a “throng.”—-

[Check out photos from the rally here.]

I enjoyed chatting with U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, who walked through the crowd shaking hands and handing out purple drink cups. Saying he might be “preaching to the choir” at the event — a reasonable Congressman interacting with reasonable citizens — Driehaus enjoyed the beautiful Fall afternoon like the rest of us, then was heading off to a number of campaign appearances the rest of the weekend.

My favorite music segment from the rally was when Stewart brought on Yusuf Islam (the former Cat Stevens) to sing “Peace Train.” Colbert interrupted the song, saying he had a better train to ride, and introduced Ozzy Osbourne to sing “Crazy Train.” Stewart and Colbert argued over which was the better song until the musicians walked off stage arm-in-arm. They then agreed they could both tolerate a “Love Train,” so the O'Jays came on to sing their ’70s hit.

I also enjoyed the video snippets where pop culture flameouts like JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater and one of the loony “real wives” of reality TV recanted their high-profile meltdowns and explained that perhaps they could have handled their adversity more reasonably and more calmly.

And Stewart's closing remarks were excellent, especially his comparison of real-life Americans to cars waiting in line for a one-lane tunnel: “You go, then I'll go. You go, then I'll go.” We are a reasonable people, despite how cable TV pundits portray the political extremes.

It looks like media reports are saying the rally attracted 200,000 people to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., more than twice what Glenn Beck's pro-Tea Party rally attracted in August. Three cheers for sanity!

Speaking of sanity and reason, don't forget to get out and vote tomorrow. Find CityBeat's election endorsements and election news coverage here.

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