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Making History with Bernie Sanders

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Making History with Bernie Sanders

by Tish Levee

I got to say, “I was there!” making history with more than 100,000 people in every state at over 3,500 events—nine of them in Sonoma County--to kick- off Bernie Sanders’ massive national volunteer effort for his presidential campaign on Wednesday night, July 29th. At bars, house parties, in basements, backyards, parks, and barbeques like the one I attended in Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park, Sanders’ supporters and people who wanted to learn more about his non-traditional campaign came together for the largest organizing event of any candidate to date.

From as few as four people to several hundred, they got together to schmooze, listen to music, hear and make soap-box speeches, organize, and eat and drink, all while waiting to hear Bernie speak by video. At the Coffey Park BBQ I attended, organized by John Gonzalez, more than 60 people gathered, with about half of them over age 50 and the rest mostly young people under 30. We had Bernie Stickers, name tags, and home made signs and were serenaded by some classic 70’s music by Craig Corona and the Tuba Tots while the coals were getting ready. While we ate, SRJC Professor Marco Giordano spoke to the group, followed by several short talks from members of the audience, among other things urging people to talk to everyone they knew, register voters, knock on doors, make phone calls, and do everything they could to Get Out the Vote!

A bit before 7:30 we moved to the south side of the park where John had set up his personal TV set so we could all hear Bernie speak. The video was broadcast from a small house party in Southwestern D.C., where he spoke from his hand-written notes resting on a music stand. In a shortened version of his stump speech, he hit all the notes of his campaign, repeating after each one, “Enough is Enough!” You can hear the speech on You Tube.

In an email to supporters after the event, Sen. Sanders said, “…at every event, people signed up to volunteer and committed themselves to building a movement capable of winning an election and reclaiming our democracy from the billionaire class.” (Italics added) He added that there are two primary sources of power in politics—organized people and organized money. “Last night proved that we have the people and that we’re well organized.”

 

© Tish Levee, 2015