DECATUR - When Bobbi Gentry heard comedian Jon Stewart announce his plan for a "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington, D.C., she and her husband looked at each other.
"I literally study how to get young people involved in politics and voting. This is exactly what I study," said Gentry, an assistant professor of political science at Millikin University. "We looked at each other like, 'I have to go to this.' "
That's why Gentry is organizing a bus trip to Washington for the event, which runs from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 30 on the Washington Mall. Comedian Stephen Colbert will host a corresponding "March to Keep Fear Alive" at the same time and location.
For $120, students and Decatur residents can sign up for the trip, which departs Decatur at 8:30 p.m. Friday and returns 9 a.m. Sunday. The travelers will arrive in Washington about 9 a.m. and leave about 6 p.m.
"It will be grueling 24 hours on the bus, with nine hours of free time," Gentry acknowledged. "But it's about being a part of something that's larger than ourselves and being a part of politics that's bipartisan."
Stewart has marketed his rally, which is a spoof of Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor," as a place for people too busy or too moderate for such hyperpartisan calls-to-arms.
The rally's Web site, www.rallytorestoresanity.com, describes its demographic this way: "If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence we couldn't. That's sort of the point."
Gentry needs at least 30 people to sign up for the bus to make the trip happen. As of Wednesday afternoon, 22 were signed up, said Millikin spokeswoman Amy Hodges. The deadline is Oct. 18, and anyone who wants to sign up for the trip must pay upfront.
For more information or to sign up, contact Gentry at email@example.com or 420-6721.