Posted by Sherry Roit on Monday, March 21, 2016
First day of Spring, 2016. Bernie Sanders came to the Key arena. I had to work, but left a bit early to see what I could see.
I had never been to a political rally, for various reasons. But I like this man. He feels like one of us. Put aside your political leanings if you must, and please read on. This is a reaction not to policy, but something else. Something universal.
I am so glad I took the chance and drove over. They say over 30,000 people showed up. Double what the venue would hold. So no, I didn't get inside. It didn't matter. Bernie is one of us, so he came out on a balcony and gave a speech to those of us stuck outside. Who would do that, we all asked. Wow. We weren't expecting that. He's really one of us! Then he went inside, and gave another speech, for those who'd gotten in line very, very early in the day. Did those of us outside disperse? No. There was a screen outside, and speakers. We stayed and watched Bernie give his longer speech from inside. Everyone was riveted. Many were cheering.
Bernie seemed humbled.
I won't go into policy or quotes from him, they are on the internet if you search. What I want most to convey is the energy. Seattle has changed in many, many ways (some good, some sad...) since I moved here in '94. Kurt Cobain died, grunge died, populations exploded, apartments won't stop appearing along with condos, and hoods don't look the same. I feel the tone of the city has changed. I remember days at Seattle center that were so different, just chilling...gathering. Whether to mourn someone like Kurt, and it felt very small town, or to watch fireworks.
What struck me at this rally was I felt a spark of that Seattle I've been nostalgic for at times.
A free feeling. Almost carefree. Relaxed. Happy. HOPEFUL. United.
It was very diverse. So many walks of life. One...one stuck out to me most of all that I think may symbolize, for me, what this movement means. Who it really represents.
Disenfranchised of many stripes. People who feel left out, on the edges, for whatever reason. It's them most of all, that Bernie brings hope to.
There was a woman, an extremely exuberant woman, not far from me. Vocal. One I'm sure considered on the fringe at most times. Thin as a stick. Missing teeth. I'm being polite. Many wouldn't. The descriptions would be base.
"Eccentric." That's a word. Not glamorous to look at. I do mention it for a reason.
Even the cool crowd at this rally, well, a few seemed to move away. Not outwardly rude, just...you know. Needed space for whatever reason. Fear? Laughter? I cannot say with true conviction, but I can guess. And I thought to myself...before I leave, I want to say hi to that woman. A smile, a handshake, something. "He's my man!" she'd yell. Rock star Bernie.
As it would happen, in a serendipitous moment, as I was starting to walk away from that screen after Bernie's mic drop, she was there, and she spoke first.
"You're so beautiful!" she exclaimed, and tapped her rainbow armband. Without hesitation, I walked up to her and hugged her. I said "Thank you. So are you. Feel the Bern!" and after she released me, and I was making my way onward, she yelled "You're my girl!!"
I had to grin. And I nodded.
You know what? I fully believe it's what Bernie would have done.
Bonus moral of this story? It takes so little to give someone so much. It takes nothing but a heart to make someone feel SEEN, HEARD, and IMPORTANT. To cause a smile.
So very little, yet it's so very much.
Think about that next time you can't be bothered to even say "hi." And this isn't about how altruistic I am, or that I'm better than...No, really. It's not. Read on.
I will never forget this woman. She may have done more for me than I did for her. In fact, I know she did. I don't know if SHE knows that, but I do. She reminded me that there's nothing to fear in being kind. There's nothing but wonderful, in sharing a conviction. I don't care what you look like, we are on the same side.
That's the Seattle I remember...Missouri gal that I am.
PS. I met some lovely people while waiting, as well. Lovely, lovely people. Joy, wit, jokes, and kindness.
Tags: politics personal bernie
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