48 hours in a honda accord... 2500 miles traveled.... 300,000 people at the National Mall... 3 consecutive hours of standing in the hot weather... and many, many $$$ later:
I WAS THERE.
I was there when 300,000 people decided they had had enough of the hysteria of network news. I was there when these people crammed themselves into buses, cars, highways, trains, and airplanes just to be in Washington, DC, on the weekend of Halloween. I was there when these thousands of people dressed in costume, carried signs, and brought their own selves forward just to show that they could. I was there when Jon Stewart, one of the most humorous men on television, got up in front of a crowd and begged them not to react, but just to act. To believe in their country, to believe in their own personal futures, and (goddammit) to believe in themselves.
I might be a little melodramatic, but the Rally To Restore Sanity was an indescribably incredible experience. We listened to some great performers and heard some amazing support for both Democrats and Republicans, for liberals and conservatives alike. In our immediate vicinity, nearly half of the people we could see were at least 40 years old - this was no teenagers' convention. We saw signs supporting both liberals and conservatives, although the left-leaners tended to dominate. But we also observed a lot of peaceful conversation and cooperation, given such a crowded space. It was impressive to see such a large group work so gently together and fit into such a small area.
On a personal note, it was a great self-finding mission. I got to reconnect with an old friend and see how both of us had changed, some things for better and some for worse. 2 nights on the road and 2 nights in a cheap, crappy motel room will make or break some friendships, but I think ours survived for the better. And the whole experience of traveling to parts unknown, driving through the heartland, and adventuring in a new place bonds people like nothing else.
We drove from Tulsa, OK, to Washington, DC, in a 22 hour marathon, going through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia (THAT was a trip), and Maryland. It was fascinating seeing all these big cities in the heartland at night, all lit up, as we traveled the interstates. It makes me glad that my taxes are paid to help construct these highways and to make it possible to drive all the way from coast to coast. On our way back, we went south, on I-85, through the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and the southern tip of Mississippi before hitting Louisiana and finally Lafayette. Trying to find radio stations driving through these territories was difficult, but some of the constants we could find in almost any place were classic rock and, of course, country. That took some compromise...
I'm about ready to pack up and move my ass to Washington, DC. I love the Metro system... I love Chinatown... I love the multitude of museums, memorials, monuments, and other exciting things. I love being so close to the center of things. But I don't like astronomically high rents and costs of living, something that I learned about from another friend living nearby. Guess on my budget I'll be hanging around the middle US for now. :/