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Flickr photo by Cosmic Smudge.

There was no shortage of political signs among the estimated 250,000 people who attended Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity Saturday on the National Mall.  Public Citizen’s voice was heard through the 5,000 signs it distributed bearing the winning slogans from its Signs for Sanity Contest.

While Stewart might have been spreading his message on stage, organizations and individuals took to the mall.

“One of the motivating reasons that people are attending is their frustration with the overweening corporate presence in politics and we want to give voice to that,” Public Citizen’s President Robert Weissman told Politico.

Public Citizen also collected signatures at the rally  for a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Stewart’s and Colbert’s antics were entertaining and certainly the highlight of the rally, but the people in attendance and the messages they brought also helped define the rally.

“What is it that is going to define the rally the morning after?” James Poniewozik, a senior writer on popular culture for Time magazine, told NPR. “Is it what is said from the stage? Or the groups of people that show up, and the signs they carry, and their political leanings?”

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From Jon Stewart’s closing remarks at his Rally to Restore Sanity on the National Mall:

“I can’t control what people think this was.  I can only tell you my intentions.   This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear.  They are and we do.  But we live now in hard times, not end times.  And we can have animus and not be enemies.

The Examiner has the full text of his speech.

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Flickr photo by cliff1066™

We scoured Flickr for some of the best photos from Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity. Check out some of the best rally signs after the jump.

We at Public Citizen are strong supporters of rational discourse and would like to thank everyone we met at the rally who signed our petition for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling. If you didn’t get a chance to sign, you can still do so by visiting www.DontGetRolled.org.

Flickr photo by Public Citizen.

Flickr photo by TalkMediaNews.

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Flickr photo by CrazyJoeDavola

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.

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Today’s Flickr photo

Let the sanity commence! Flickr photo by antisocialtory.

If you read one thing today…

Public Citizen supporters want to take on corporate power, Public Citizen’s “What Sign Should I Bring To Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity” showed, portraying the public’s frustration with the corporate-dominated status quo in Washington. Of the thousands of submissions, Public Citizen chose our fave four to print and distribute tomorrow on the National Mall.  Here are the winners and their prize slogans:

  • “Separation of Corporation and State” (Elizabeth, North Carolina);
  • “We, the People NOT We, the Corporations” (Alan, Colorado);
  • “It’s a Democracy, Not an Auction” (Eric, Washington state); and
  • “Keep Your Government Hands Off My Corporate Overlords!” (Ken, Washington state).

Overheard

“Sanity is no simple proposition in Washington, D.C., where narrow corporate interests routinely block commonsense policies to strengthen our nation and preserve our planet,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Our contest’s submissions highlight that restoring sanity requires taking on corporate power.”

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Now, that you’ve figured out what sign you’re bringing to Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, there’s a few things you should know about navigating the nation’s capital. So, we’ve provided the above video as a helpful guide for this weekend’s visitors.

Public Citizen will be on the National Mall handing out signs from our slogan contest (see the winning entries here and if you’re a real glutton for punishment, see the nearly 6,000 entries here) and gathering petition signatures for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. That’s the decision that opened the way for the anonymous corporate cash that is flooding this year’s elections.

So, look for us Saturday and sign our petitions and get one of the 5,000 signs we’ll be handing out. And, most importantly, please don’t stand on the left side of the escalator. We’ve got places to go.

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We have a winner!

Actually, four winners. From the thousands of slogans submitted in our “What Sign Should I Bring to Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity?” Contest, we couldn’t pick just one.

Here are the winning slogans (along with the name and state of the first person to suggest each one):

Separation of Corporation and State (Elizabeth, North Carolina)

We, the People NOT We, the Corporations (Alan, Colorado)

It’s a Democracy, Not an Auction (Eric, Washington)

Keep Your Government Hands Off My Corporate Overlords! (Ken, Washington)

And a few runners-up that made us laugh:

If It Weren’t for CNN, I’d Have No Idea What Was Happening on Twitter (Claire, New Jersey)

Wait, What Are We Protesting Again? (RJ, Florida)

If You Think Money Is Speech, Try Paying Your Visa Bill With an Essay (Bruce, Michigan)

Read more slogans on the contest page.

Look for us at the rally! We’ll be decked out in spiffy Public Citizen t-shirts and handing out signs at nearby Metro (subway) stations. Get there early and get your sign before they’re all taken. Then show your Public Citizen pride by holding your sign as high as you can all day. Or, you know, until your arms get tired.

Thanks to the thousands of Public Citizen members and activists who submitted slogans. We really enjoyed reading them!

Hope to see you on the Mall this Saturday.

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