To say that I don’t like politics is understatement. Yet, I spend most of my day reading and dissecting politics, domestic or international. I observe, never participate – not because I feel superior or that I’m lazy to participate but because I see no point in wasting my time or energy in putting my hopes or desires into politicians. However antagonistic I feel about politics, I also deeply believe that people must participate in politics if they want to change things around them.
I just came back from the much publicized Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear organized by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, two shows that I regularly watch. It was not my expectation of participating in politics that I went to Washington, DC but precisely that it was not about politics. I’ve lived long enough in this great country to know that sanity has become a rare commodity in political or even social discourse. It is ironic that two comedians had to call for sanity and reasonableness in rejection of hyperbolic partisan language and screaming matches on the increasingly malicious and useless 24-hour TV cable “news”.
And I found that there are a lot of people who feel as I do. The rally brought so many different people, from across all walks of life, of race, religion and ethnicity. The rally itself wasn’t really a rally but a big party – music performances, comedy skits, live parodies. The most political thing, if anyone would classify it as political, was Stewart pleading with those in politics and the news media to stop creating a non-existent fear and conflict through divisive language and simply insane rhetoric. I was truly amazed at the diverse lineup of musical acts that performed, including the incredible band The Roots, John Legend, Yusuf Islam, Ozzy Osborne, Kid Rock, Cheryl Crowe, Mavis Maple and Jeff Tweedy. As Stewart brought Yusuf Islam to perform his classic, “Peace Train,” Colbert interrupted Yusuf halfway the song to bring Ozzy Osborne as a counterpoint against Stewart’s ‘sanity’ plea by making Osborne perform a heavy-metal song that included the lyrics “the train is going to derail.” Classic Stewart-Colbert moment, with Yusuf Islam and Ozzy Osborne as the symbol of sanity and fear, respectively.
Like any visitor to the Capital, I had to go to the obligatory places of historical and/or contemporary significance. But I was lucky to have my college mate living in the center of the city and I spent most of Sunday bike riding around downtown area to get an incredible view of the city like a local. Pictures should suffice!
DC, Je T’aime.