Sunday, March 20, 2016

Bernie Sanders appears in Seattle during Washington State Campaign Tour

The following contribution is from Seattle-based independent journalist, David Malekar; who regularly publishes content to the WashCo Chronicle and other online publications.

 Bernie Sanders appears in Seattle during Washington State Campaign tour

Bernie Sanders at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington
Key Arena near capacity at the time this photo was taken, about 15 minutes before Bernie appeared
One thing was for certain.  Over 20 thousand people arrived by a good "personal" estimate (capacity is listed at over 17,000), today.  I arrived around 2 PM (announced first open doors) at the Key Arena in Seattle.  The line wrapped around the block even at that time.  I had made reservations for the event through Bernie's campaign website earlier in the day for the historic event.  Sadly, the reservations didn't apply to spots within the line.  Everyone had to wait regardless.  The amount of diversity within the attendees were phenomenal.  While waiting, I was able to converse with the crowd, finding that many were more open to talk than the Seattle "norm."  If you've never been to Seattle, most people avoid talking to strangers and having open dialogue.  It was a refreshing change for once; being originally a D.C. greater area, native.  There really is something to the Bernie crowd and the energy that they bring.

During the next 3 hours, we slowly moved ahead to the front entrance.  It turns out that there were only two open doors available for people to enter, both which had the large "walk-through" metal detectors.  For some reason, they did not utilize more open doors (There were more than 10) with officers equipped with the handheld wands.  Ironically, they did end up using the handheld wands in conjunction with the large, walk-through detectors.  An unnecessary inconvenience that everyone in the crowd seemed to agreed on.  One can only hope that more staff is utilized in the future for other large scale events.

After the exhaustion of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with people for the extended period of time, it was a relief to finally be within the arena.  Never did touching one's toes, bring such back relief.  Nearly everything was sold out in concessions.  The place certainly had the atmosphere of being a "big deal."  That it certainly was.  Chants of "Bernie!" and "Feel The Bern!" were roaring all through the arena.  The energy was there; people were "Feeling the Bern," alright.  Those left outside, still watched the live stream that was available with full enthusiasm.

Once Mr. Sanders made his way out, the arena roared.  The core foundations of the place shook.  The experience was comparable to the "12th Man" eruption from Centurylink Field during a Seattle Seahawks game.  The man could barely speak for the first 10 minutes without being drowned out by cheers and screams.  It was the "Rock-star" feel.  One could compare it to most rock concerts they have been to, but it was it's own unique energy.  You expect this from a rock concert, not from a politician.  That's what set the tone apart.

Bernie's points were very basic, but to the point.  He attacked the failed Drug War, tying it into the need to demilitarize our police nationally; and for police accountability.  The removal of Marijuana as Class 1 narcotic on the Federal level.  The issues of allowing a woman to choose what to do with their body.  I did like the way he made it a point; that Republicans try to advertise themselves as "small government," except when it comes to a woman's choice for her own body  The same was said with what happens in the bedroom.  He attacked cronyism without hesitation, another reason why people of all ages have followed him.  Banks are not popular, especially since the late 2000's economic crash.  He made sure to point this out, that he was against the banker bailouts and the crimes of Wall St.  The points Bernie made, he almost sounded like a Third-Party candidate.  This would explain why the Green Party has taken an interest in him.  To an extent, one could have even confused him as a Libertarian.

At a certain point however, his talking points became more open and broad.  He spoke on the human right of universal healthcare.  He spoke on the right of free education for all.  The issues that followed, were all great to hear.  While it has been sourced in many places on the internet, he did not go into much detail about how he will fund these policies.  I personally was hoping for a more in depth look to better give him a chance on the controversial economic issues.  The crowd however, did not seem to mind the "overview."  One thing is for certain, his audience is enraptured by his voice and demeanor.  One could not deny that fact, especially after viewing it in person.

Seattle is a top contributor for Mr. Sanders campaign.  Seattle Times has Seattle listed as Bernie's largest donor, at an astounding $893 per 1,000 residents.  Washington D.C. doesn't even come close at $436 per 1,000 residents.  It's very apparent that the "Emerald city" wants Bernie.  I would highly suggest that all Third-Parties watch him, and learn a thing or two.  The message is simple, but addresses the issues that young and older people are having to deal with in their daily lives.  Corruption within the banking system, police accountability, the bleak future for Social Security and Medicare.  The Libertarian and Green Party need to embrace these issues with an iron fist, if they want to gain the support of these voters.  There is speculation of the DNC "screwing over" Bernie for Hillary.  If this is truly the case, then Third-Parties need to act fast.  Some compare this campaign to that of Ron Paul being "screwed over" by the RNC in 2012.  One thing is certain, the people want an "Anti-Establishment" candidate.  They will only continue to endure the controversy from the "Red" and "Blue" Parties, for so long.  It truly does appear that it will be the time for Third-Parties to shine, after this 2016 election.  Certainly if it's one without Mr. Sanders on the ticket, this November.