Estimates of the numbers of thousands who assembled for public rallies held by Comedy Channel hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are varied in the press.
But they range from more 150,000 to 500,000. In any case it stretch for four city blocks and jammed traffic.
The rally was a call to action for citizens ahead of mid-term elections to wrest the country from histrionic media and conservative campaigns. It followed an earlier Restoring Honor rally by conservative commentator Glenn Beck in August billed as a “celebration of America’s heroes and heritage.” 87,000 people listened to speeches, including from Sarah Palin, that emphasised that Americans of all religions should turn to their faith in God.
But this weekend Washington’s National Mall rallied behind the two Comedy Channel hosts as they sang about America in song: ”It’s the greatest, strongest country in the world,” they chorused.
Colbert: ”America is perfect and there’s nothing to fix/My PIN code is 1776/Americans will deep fry anything/And that is why I sing …”
Stewart: ”I embody the spirit of the founders I know/ ’cause I watched John Adams on the HBO/ You can tax all my cash to help a stranger/But I’ll sue city hall if they put up a manger …”
Both: ”From gay men who like football to straight men who like Glee / There’s no one more American than me.”
Many held placards with wry slogans that parodied other campaigners:
– Even God gave it a rest for one day – tone it down America
– I disagree with you but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler
– Want to live in a place with no government? Try Somalia
– God hates signs
– I’m Not Afraid of Muslims, Tea Parties, Gays
– Support the Right to Arm Bears
– You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own spelling
– Think outside the Fox
But the rally also carried a serious message, too. ”We live now in hard times,” Stewart said after all the laughs. ”Not end times.”