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L.A. Rally to Restore Sanity Gets Temperate Angelenos Moderately Fired Up

Olga Khazan |
October 30, 2010 | 3:53 p.m. PDT

Senior Editor

Today's Rally to Restore sanity in Los Angeles, held in MacArthur Park, gave one reasonable man something to get excited about: moderation.

Justin Williams is a foley artist and intern who just moved to L.A. He had never been to a political rally before, but when he heard that there would be a satellite Rally to Restore sanity in town, he knew he had to be there.

"Aside from being a big fan of Stewart and Colbert, it's something I've been meaning to do for a while," he said. "We need to show there are normal people out there."

Williams met up with other like-minded moderates he met on Reddit.com, a social news site, at a Oaxacan restaurant prior to the event. The group painted T-shirts with the likenesses of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and set out for the rally together.

For Williams, the rally was a chance to push back against the onslaught of extremist politics that have emerged in the hotly contested battles of the 2010 election.

"This is the craziest election I've seen in a long time," he said. "In what other election have you heard ads saying 'I'm not a witch?' We need to tone that shit down."


At its peak, during the live feed from Washington, the rally drew about 2,000 people of all ages. They mostly sat in lawn chairs, chatted, played with dogs and cheered occasionally. The actual "rallying" at the event was minimal.

But according to the Reddit group organizer, William Carrillo, the local event's main purpose was to entertain, organize and engage Angelenos, who he said can tend toward apathy.

"It will be helpful for people to actually do something in L.A.," he said. "People in L.A. tend to be sort of flakey and not actually do things."

Williams said he was impressed by the rally overall, including the diversity and, well, normalcy of the people there. The demographics of the crowd, he said, didn't exactly fit with the stereotypical image of ardent Daily Show followers.

"Some say they're a bunch of stupid stoners, or a bunch of stupid college kids, but really it's a lot of different types of people who watch these shows," he said. "[Colbert and Stewart] are two of the most influential figures in American politics."

After the live feed from Washington concluded, a string of comedians took the stage, led by emcee Maija DiGiorgio. The comedians poked fun at the Founding Fathers, conservative Christians and the War on Terror, and at one point a flash mob of zombies burst into the crowd and performed the "Thriller" dance.

Williams said he didn't stick around for the comedians.

"I figured I came to the really important part, I can skip out on the rest and go get a sandwich," he said. "Reasonable, see?"



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