I finally had the opportunity to attend a Bernie Sanders rally in Santa Monica yesterday at the local high school, to see a part of this Revolution unfold. I was not disappointed.
Once on the school grounds there was another long line that snaked the full length of the tennis court area. Security was tight, but not intrusive. I saw just one anti-Bernie protester: a little old woman, hunched over, peddling communist pamphlets. She was too amusingly naive to lecture and nobody took her serious.
I found a spot maybe 200 feet from the stage, not bad considering how many thousands of people showed up (up to 10,000 were expected). Fortunately I’m over 6-foot so I didn’t have problems seeing anything. And oh, what a line-up!
First up was a local musician (name?) that sang such aggressive lyrics that I was nervous he’d be pulled off stage by security. He sang of dousing government buildings and Wall Street with gasoline, “berning” it all to the ground and outright hanging bankers… personally, I fucking loved it because the idea that Corporate America will ever back down willingly seems absurd to me… but it might not have been the right time or place to advertise that. But hey, nobody complained. And some chimed in with agreement.
Several speakers proceeded including Cenk Uygur (The Young Turks host), Rosario Dawson (lovely all around) and then Bernie was introduced by… Dick Van Dyke! Then, finally, Bernie Sanders finally took the stage. Fists shot to the air, shouts and cheers and clapping and signs waving, kids jumping up and down just to catch a glimpse, young people hoisting each other up… it was awesome. Everyone was awesome.
This was exactly what a Revolution should look like. To see and feel that energy firsthand was inspiring enough to admittedly draw some tears from my eyes. (Thankfully I had sunglasses on. Plus I was pretty “medicated” anyway, so… win-win).
A good sample of the event experience:
All in all, the felt more like Coachella than a political rally, which was fitting because this movement really isn’t about politics in the traditional sense… it’s so much more than that. It’s a moral and spiritual awakening, a celebration of the good, a rebirth of widespread empathy.
I left maybe 10 minutes before Bernie’s speech ended to avoid the exiting traffic, but even from SIX BLOCKS away I could still hear him shouting his inspiring message as it echoed down Pico Blvd, so loudly that someone (apparently unaware of the rally) asked me if there was some kind of sporting event going on.
“Yep,” I told him. “And we’re winning.”