Sign says I like protesting

Rallying for sanity or fear or something

Protest sign reads I LIKE PROTESTING

My sign at the Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear. Photo from the National Post.

I’ve been to some pretty big rallies and marches in DC, and I don’t know numbers for all of them, but yesterday’s Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear could easily be the biggest one I’ve attended. It was huge, 215,000 people compared to Glenn Beck’s 87,000, and that’s with a ton of people leaving the mall early to watch the rally in bars and restaurants instead.

And this is for a rally that was kind of a joke. The event seemed to mean different things to different people: a joke, a way to mock the Tea Party and demonstrate that they don’t represent everybody in the U.S., a critique of mainstream media, or an actual political rally. The day felt like a hybrid of all these things.

Some people I’ve talked to are bothered so many people would turn out to a (semi)fake rally. Quite frankly, and this is coming from an organizer who thinks engagement in the political system is vital, I thought the rally and huge turnout were great. I think big marches in DC are a dead tactic right now. They don’t really demonstrate the size and power of a base – there are better ways to do that. I don’t think they have much of a political influence. They’re a fun energizing event for a base, but I think there are more strategic uses of our time and energy than holding signs that compare whoever we disagree with to Hitler (and I’ve seen these for every issue and constituency I’ve seen march in DC).

I enjoyed this humorous, semi-political respite from the usual polarized political arguments on the mall. Maybe it’s because I live in DC, but the rally to me was a big screw you to the rallies that mess up our weekends on a regular basis.

And no, it wasn’t some great feminist or social justice event. There were not nearly enough women on the stage, something feminists have called these same comedians out for before. But it was a lot of fun, and a nice break from sensationalist media coverage of politics that I don’t think is particularly useful either.

Were you at the rally this weekend, did you watch it on TV, or deliberately stay away? What’s your take on a huge rally organized by political satirists on the national mall a few days before the election?

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

Read more about Jos

Join the Conversation