‘Sanity’ rally lowers the political volume to soothing decibels

‘Sanity’ rally lowers the political volume to soothing decibels

Leigh Sholler

HONOLULU—For anyone envisioning a DC-style political rally, Honolulu’s satellite “Rally to Restore Sanity” and “March to Keep Fear Alive” on Saturday bore no resemblance to the throngs that spewed out of Metro exits and milled about the National Mall in Washington, D.C. While Jon Stewart may have encouraged all Americans to “take it down a notch,” he could perhaps not have predicted how well the 300 Honolulu rally attendees would comply, lolling on the State House lawn for a couple hours, waiting to be entertained.

Many participants got into the spirit of balancing “Sanity” and “Fear” with signs proclaiming their stances; among the more notable were placards that read, “I like big butts and I cannot lie,” and “Gay Agenda: 1) Buy milk, 2) Do dishes, 3) Call Mom.”

But in the end, the event turned out to be more about talking story with friends and watching the stage acts, in turn escaping the other errands and chores we were supposed to be doing on a normal Saturday.

Despite the small size and extraordinarily low-key atmosphere, coordinators led by Dan Hartenstein, Beth King-Mock, and Mike Licata did succeed in attracting some local politicians willing to take a shot at comedy at the risk of making asses of themselves—though not always successfully. With questions culled from local comedians, MC Maleko cajoled several candidates for City, State and federal offices into “showing us their human side.”

Turns out State House District 27 candidate “Auntie Pupule” Vasquez would have a tough time deciding what type of plate lunch she would be, City Council District 4 candidate Stanley Chang loved his Bart Simpson costume when he was a kid, State Senate District 51 candidate Chris Lee can dance, and U.S. House of Representatives candidate Colleen Hanabusa sees the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series this year (after being told she couldn’t drop the Victorino name since the Phillies didn’t make it).

Clearly, with polemic saturating our current political atmosphere, selling another rally, cause, or issue to otherwise busy-with-their-lives voters is tough, especially on short notice. And the Honolulu Sanity/Fear rally depended upon word-of-mouth and a small network of volunteer organizers to bring the event to fruition. Nonetheless, a few hundred people and their small dogs (which far outnumbered people under the age of 25) responded to the call to laugh at ourselves, gawk at Cherry Blossom Cabaret dancers, eat the much vaunted Doner-Kebabs from the truck across the street, and avoid divisive rhetoric even if only for a few hours.