Let’s get this out of the way up front — Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity was insane. If the National Mall had been a bar, the fire marshal would have closed it down two hours before the Daily Show host even took the stage. The Daily Show estimated the crowd at 250,000. I have no idea how they came up with that number but I’m going to go out on a limb and say there were more.
That’s the only certainty about Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear — that no one is going to agree on how many people actually attended.
Every major rally or protest in Washington, D.C. in the last 15 years (since the National Park Service stopped providing crowd estimates) has had differing attendance counts, often by hundreds of thousands of people.
The bigger question and more important one is what impact, if any, did the event have on the people who attended the D.C. rally? Was the gathering nothing more than the world’s largest flash mob? Or will some of the people who traveled from far and near look back upon it as a seminal event in their lives?
I’d love to hear what people who attended or watched it on TV think.