Covering the Rally for MSNBC's "The Last Word" from Clare Kim on Vimeo.
I took the bus down to D.C. to cover the Stewart/Colbert rally for The Last Word. What started out as an exciting ride on a beautiful Autumn day turned out to be an anxiety-ridden journey with the other restless attendees. Things were going smoothly until...we hit 1-95. Our bus came to a complete standstill and we no longer had the National Mall in sight. Instead, we saw two never-ending rows of cars and buses headed straight for Washington, D.C.
Our bus driver announced that our arrival time would be pushed back, and so we all whipped out our smartphones and laptops and watched the rally streaming live. My fellow Megabus cohorts talked to their family or friends who were stuck on other buses, including the HuffPo buses, which arrived a mere 20 minutes before we did. I turned to my neighbor and asked if she wanted to split a cab to the National Mall. She agreed and we both turned to look outside our window to see a glimpse of any D.C. monument, giving us a glimmer of hope.
After a bus that was estimated to arrive at 11:50am arrived 2 hours later, my bus-mate and I agreed that a cab was out of the question. We decided speed-walking down Pennsylvania Avenue would be the quickest way to get to the National Mall. Just as we turned on 4th Street, I heard, Stewart and Colbert (quite impressively) sing through the loudspeakers their rendition of the National Anthem, "It's the Greatest, Strongest Country in the World" so I quickly looked over my shoulder, said goodbye to my bus neighbor and picked up my pace.
I headed straight for the media tent and the crowd swarmed the entrance gate. After grabbing a volunteer's arm and flashing my NBC ID badge, I told the others that I had to get in. "Yeah, get in line," someone sneered. A Comedy Central press official finally came over, looked at my badge and yelled, "Let this woman in!" I was finally there.
Thousands turned out for the rally led by Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They say it wasn't a political event but on this weekend before the midterm elections, it certainly spawned political ralliers. Attendees from all across country came to see Comedy Central hosts, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and in that giant crowd, from their banners to buttons, it's obvious his fans viewed this as something more than just entertainment.
While the rally might have been a fun a way to spend an afternoon with comedians, musical acts, and over 200,000+ other participants, some argue that this gathering might have been the wake-up call Washington needs before the impending doomsday that's Nov. 2. Some likened the rally to the 1963 March on Washington or to this generations' Woodstock.
But, one thing's for certain: it's challenging to keep you cool in situations like this one. After six hours of spending the day on the bus with my fellow disgruntled riders, I learned that even the most patient person couldn't practice what Stewart and Colbert were apparently preaching for two hours. Sometimes, it's the sane person that gets left behind.