Armed with homemade signs and rain jackets, several thousand people in downtown Seattle on Saturday cheered for turning down the volume on political rhetoric and turning up civility.
The event at Westlake Park, billed as Seattle’s “Rally to Restore Sanity,” coincided with one led by Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Taking its cue from Stewart and Colbert, the Seattle rally featured several local comedians, red-white-and-blue fashion accessories, and a message to get involved in the political process – in a respectful way.
The morning rally was emceed by KIRO radio host Dave Ross.
“No matter what you think about the property tax, the income tax, the candy tax, the soda tax, we should be able to debate each other without destroying each other,” Ross said.
Local organizer Jim Baum, a Maple Valley building inspector and farmer, said he was offended by tea party activists asserting that they “wanted their country back.”
“Wait a minute,” he said. “Isn’t it our country?”
Baum said he’d never organized anything, but when he heard about Stewart and Colbert’s rally, he floated the idea of a Seattle satellite event on his Facebook page on a Friday morning. By that Monday, he said, so many people had said they wanted to be involved that he started seeking permits.
His co-organizer, Marjorie Osterhout, a Madrona mom, said she was disturbed by the attack ads on radio and television and wanted her 10-year-old son to know that there were alternatives.