Bernie Sanders was in Minneapolis today, with bagels at 9:30 a.m. and a town hall meeting at 10. We planned to arrive around 9:15 (more to secure a chair than a bagel). I’m familiar with the neighborhood and figured I could find us a parking spot within a couple blocks of the venue. But we hit a snag when we saw cars circling around several blocks from the venue, quickly took the next spot we could find, and walked the seven blocks.
Oh my. Oh my oh my. People on people, far more than we expected. It was a line. A very long line. We walked to the end of the line—about three blocks long and not single file. Standing. Waiting. It was the most wonderful atmosphere. Casual chitchat, people listening to other comments and chiming in, mostly about how excited we were to see so many people out at a town hall meeting on a Sunday morning.
The line actually did start moving, and unbelievably we made it into the building. Lots of people got in line behind us—at least another three blocks worth. I would estimate the crowd at 5,000, and my spouse estimated same. It was standing room only by the time we got inside (there were no bagels to be seen, though I did see one person eating one, so I believe they brought some, though probably not 5,000).
We found a small staircase so we could see him above the crowd. It was exciting. It was exciting to be in the crowd, watching Bernie Sanders, listening to him affirm almost everything I believe in.
- We need to act on climate change
- Universal health care (like pretty much every other developed nation has)
- Citizens United is a go-card for billionaires
- Reducing the negative impact of free trade
- Increasing the minimum wage
- Addressing the growing wealth gap
- Campaign finance reform
- Tax rates on the wealthy that are higher than the tax rates paid by their minions
A political revolution. Making the people at least as important as the corporations. Imagine that.
The crowd was vast, and I was glad to see lots of young people there, as well as parents with young—and also teenage—children. A lot of people wore political T-shirts, and I sure as shit wish I had a Wellstone T-shirt I could wear but I don’t, so I wore my University of Minnesota sweatshirt (which was probably better since it was in the 40s this morning). I saw someone sporting a Mondale-Ferraro button. A classic Greenpeace sweatshirt. It had a bit of the feeling of a festival.
As we left, we were walking down the street and started talking to a woman walking beside us. She had told some friends she was coming to see Bernie Sanders today, and they asked, “Who is he?” She bemoaned the fact that they know practically every major league football player, but have never heard of Bernie Sanders.
I think most people know more football players than politicians, and this has suddenly struck me as wrong. What are we doing? Why aren’t we paying attention?
They were sold out of T-shirts by the time we got there, but I got a button and a bumper sticker. And a lot of hope.