I stood with big fat tears rolling down my face, soaking in Cat Stevens. I thought back to all the times I blasted “Peace Train” in my headphones and when I first bought one of his albums. I got outrageously excited when I realized the O’Jays were taking the stage to sing “Love Train”. I made a note to tell my dad that the Myth Busters were there too. And I couldn’t help but laugh at John Oliver in his Peter Pan costume as he helped us revive sanity.
I knew there was a decent amount of people there but was so utterly moved when the jumbo trons showed us reaching from one end of the National Mall to the other.
I even peer pressured a man next to me to take his hat off during a troops’ rendition of out National Anthem. Naturally, I proceeded to cry.
Sure I was sleepy (I was operating on approximately 2 hours of sleep.), my feet were in agony (I stood in virtually the same place for at least five hours, not including all the walking I did). It was pretty annoying when a tall man walked through my little area and proceeded to make the rest of us crunch together while he blew cigarette smoke in our direction.
But I also witnessed kindness and camaraderie.
I witnessed people pulling strangers aside because “I just have to take a picture so I can show your sign (I’m not scared of a government who helps people) to my social studies class” or because they had to photograph “I want my county (ham) back.”
A women told me “I love your sticker (Vote Pro-Choice. Politicians make crappy doctors.). It’s so true.”
Before the rally began, as the jumbo trons kept us entertained, I witnessed people politely chant “Signs down, please” and the people in front lowered their signs so others could see the screens.
My eyes are horrible, completely incapable of adjusting to wearing glasses, and dry all the time. My eyes get red and water even when I’m not having a spiritual crisis. As my eyes were red and watery the lady behind me offered to give me a bottle of water because she “mothers everyone.”
I got to see people find a space amongst the crowd, saying “I’m sorry, excuse me,” as they waded through.
I got to see a mass of people empty the mall and smile at each other as we all tried to walk in all different directions.
Traffic merging is American. We can negotiate. Take turns. Compromise.
We can all actually get along.
Right now I’m sitting on a bus with a bunch of sleepy, achy rally attendents, who after getting a little cranky with greyhound for running late decided cracking up at our silly bus driver was a much more reasonable and uplifting way to spend their time.
I’m not saying I had something to do with it but I did pray for our aching feet, our growling stomachs and for all of us to remember what we learned.
So the message of the rally, that I was so concerned with just days ago, can best be explained by a sign I saw on the jumbo tron.
CIVILITY IS SEXY.
Rationality is good thing.
“Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats or Republicans or conservatives or liberals…Impossible things get done every day that are only made possible by the little, reasonable compromises.”
Civility is American.
Civility really is sexy.
Author’s note: Oh, it’s 2 in the morning…whoever wants to proofread, please do. Send me corrections.