Longtime readers may have noticed I don't say much in the way of political views. To a certain extent this is a survival technique. Steering conversations away from major issues helps to keep the work environment friendly, a pretty important thing when working as a contractor. I generally hold true to this practice when blogging as well. Though, let's face it, reviewing energy drinks and old movie novelizations leaves little room for statements about gay rights and social justice. I do demand a certain level of human decency so the only way anyone ever draws out my opinions is by doing or saying something downright despicable. Then I gotta give em some act right. In simplest terms, I'm a Bernie Sanders supporter, a role that on Wednesday afternoon landed me in a stadium for my first ever political rally.
I first head about Bernie's visit from my brother who wanted to check out the gathering. Usually I would've avoided the whole scene but lord knows I've been craving some new experiences lately. The announcement my brother had received told us to get to the Breslin Center in East Lansing by 4 PM. Earlier that day some radio hosts talked up how big the lines were and how interested parties should get there early. Advice like this is probably why radio is a dying art form. I can't say as arriving saved us much hassle though it did provide us with the chance for ground floor viewing. They were right about one thing, the lines were indeed long.
Seeing as this rally was taking place right on Michigan State University territory, a large subset of the gathering was from the student body. Here's the part where my inner grumpy old man shines through. I didn't much enjoy the company of colleges students when I counted among their ranks. Nowadays it's like being surrounded by a whole different species. I just can't understand someone who talks about duck language vines while wearing 8-bit graphic socks. put on Still; if these kids can help someone decent get into office I'll have to cut em a little slack. Just not on the socks, never forgive the socks.
Eventually we entered the Breslin Center, the first time in my case since I'm not a big public gathering/concert kind of person. The whole place is a tad outdated in design. In fact, it feels somewhat like an enormous bathroom. MSU's working on some renovations so maybe when I visit again in another thirty years it'll be upgraded to quaint.
Our first seating arrangement proved troublesome as the traditional fold seats were two small for some party members necessitating a need to move down to lower bleacher style seating. This eventually caused trouble for me as I had to keep my legs in childbirth position so as not to drive my knees into the spines of two college girls. It was at this time that I asked my brother a rather important detail. We were told to get there by four, but when was the actual speech supposed to start? Turns out at that very moment, Bernie was giving a speech in New England and wasn't supposed to be on stage for us until seven. No way was my ass gonna hold out in that spot for two more hours.
Suddenly, inspiration struck the group. At the very bottom of the stadium was the pit where the actual event takes place. Contained therein was essentially the woodstock of this gathering along with the press area. Only so many people were allowed into that level and gifted with a wrist band that allowed them free passage. We slunk down just in time to nab enough bands allowing us to roam the halls freely. This was a life saver not only for my poor ass but for my body that was screaming for a cup of coffee. Even at stadium prices, black coffee is haven.
Once we returned to the pit, it became apparent just how many people had showed up. The place was a madhouse of chants, woos, waves, and cellphone flashlight shows. I've seen events described as electric but you could honestly feel a charge in the room much different from the usual blah feelings you get from town festivals and the like. The people here were pumped to an extent that could energize even the sleepiest of cynics. That mood only continued to grew along with the size of the audience until it finally came time for some speeches.
Several people came out before the big guy, the best of which was Ja'Mal Green. I hadn't heard of him before but he's apparently an activist out of Chicago and I gotta say the kid knows how to get people revved up. I mean there were some deafening roars of applause for his speech but nothing matched the noise when Sanders himself showed up. The experience could best by described a rampaging herd of elephants funneled through a loudspeaker straight into your skull.
Bernie's speech was fine as always. I'll admit the guy repeats some of the same beats a bit too often, but when it's actual positive ideas about giving people a shot at making this world even a moderately better place you can't fault him. It's good, agreeable stuff that I hope catches on. People like to claim he's some sort of crazed wizard but is there really anything all that odd about wanting a world where people actually have opportunities and access to jobs, education, food, clean water (a big one in Michigan these days), and health care? The message was good enough that I felt I should at least do something to help spread it around. That resulted in this post.
There's plenty more primaries coming our way. Michigan folk have ours next Tuesday, and I think there's something this weekend as well. Basically I want to encourage folks to get out there and vote for Sanders. No, I'm not going to try and convince you he's some golden god who will save us all, but I do think he's our best chance at fixing some social issues. Given the state of our culture wouldn't you at least like to try and make things better? I mean it's worth a shot, right? So get out there and do something worthwhile. Oh and don't worry about this site, we'll be right back to superheroes and candy before you know it.