Felt the Bern

June 1, 2016


Bern’s people invited me to a rally. He was scheduled to step up on stage at 8:00. Anticipating a crowd, I took off for the IM field on my bike at about 3:15. I passed an old guy on A Street, hunched over, walking slowly, wearing a t-shirt with something about revolution printed on the back. I yelled, “Bernie Rally?” and he flashed me a smile and a thumbs up.

Locked my bike in a rack on La Rue, across the street from the Rec Hall and headed over.. I could see I was not the first to get there. TV trucks, tents bulging with volunteers, cases of water in tall stacks surrounding those tents, temporary railing arranged so that the lines of people could snake back and forth before passing through security check points, uniformed police and security personnel here and there, rows of porta potties, an arrangement of stages… and lots and lots of people.

When I took my place in line, I was probably back about 300-400 people. At that point, it was hard to tell it was a line because it wasn’t yet moving and people were clustered in spots under trees. It was friendly. Kids around me were talking about finals and summer plans. This guy worked the line selling T-shirts:


Then we were ushered onto the field to take our place among the makeshift maze of rails. Ran into Frances who’d volunteered to work the event. She’d just finished her training and was circulating among the crowd recruiting Bernie campaign get-out-the-vote workers for next week:


About an hour after first arriving, I was passing through the metal detectors:


The few hundred people in front of me fanned themselves around the main stage in an arc so large, I was still surprisingly close when I finally staked out my patch of grass.

And then… we sat. It was still three hours til showtime. I’m also surprised how fast that went. Two musical groups performed, both perfectly great, both striking just the right chord.

Here are the fifty or so folks assembled to serve as the diverse, multi-cultural-looking backdrop behind Bernie who will show up in all the media footage for this event. You can also see our own County Supervisor and candidate for State Assembly, Don Saylor, in the crowd:


You can see I’m close. I’d say about twenty people back, if that, and right on the rail between the crowd at-large and an area reserved for people with a variety of disabilities.  I felt like I had an escape route if I needed one (just hop over the rail into the spaciousness and protection of the ADA area). But I didn’t need that. Still, it gave me something to lean up against, which was very nice.

Here’s my requisite selfie:


For most of my three hour wait, I had ample space around me (way ampler than the above shot). But at a seemingly random moment, the entire crowd began to close in on the stage… here’s me starting to get totally squeezed:


And pretty soon my space was just me and a 1/2 to a foot or so of personal space.

Here are some crowd shots… to my right:


Behind me to the left:


A woman who was in the ADA area, standing on a chair, swaying to the music with her sign in hand:


There were only two warm up speakers… a rep from a nurses union and a congresswoman from Hawaii. Then there was the singing of the national anthem, which was unexpectedly emotional.


At exactly 8:00, Bernie entered the scene to deafening cheers. I have to admit, after the hours of waiting, and over a year of some pretty serious hero worship, it was very exciting. Exhilarating, even.

He got right to business–first thanking the previous speakers, the bands, the organizers, and then launched right in on 90 solid minutes of serious policy positions and proposals.



Everything he says I agree with. What he says, how he says it… I’m there. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, principled, consistent, full of integrity and passion. Sanders is a truly compassionate man and cares about the people he serves–all of them.

I heard crowd estimates that ranged from 8-18 thousand! It was his second of the day (Palo Alto earlier).

I predict California goes for Bernie.

Because of Tuesday’s election, the candidates are all in the state. While Bernie was at UCD talking to students, Trump was at the Sac Airport. I don’t really want to get into a compare and contrast, but you can probably guess which candidate showed up to his rally in his private jet and then put on a staged, glitzy WWF-like show with a vacuous, rambling speech long on poorly-constructed sentences, even longer on juvenile pot shots, and undoubtedly short on substantive policy positions.

Not going there.

So, here’s a neat thing: I heard that Bernie was in town earlier in the day. He had lunch at Black Bear Diner, then walked around downtown and the core area, just looking around. Here’s a shot somebody in our neighborhood got of him just outside their house at about 6th and B (and shared with a friend who shared it with me)… one block from our house, just hanging around with a few secret service agents in tow. (It was in the high 90s.)


Further, at 7:43, just seventeen minutes before going on stage, he was loading up the motorcade, which was parked ON A STREET, RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM OUR HOUSE.  Margaret saw him and texted me at that moment.Peter was also at the rally. Jim was in the house and heard nothing.

Man… I tell you… if I’d have known… I’d have loved to shake his hand, or invite him in to chill. Can you imagine?

I’ll tell you who WASN’T walking around a sleepy neighborhood… talking to, connecting with, and absolutely relating to regular folks.

Go Bernie.





2 Responses to “Felt the Bern”

  1. Sabrina OHanleigh Says:

    Hey Kari, Nice blog. That woman waving her sign is Allegra Silberstein, PTDW dancer extraordinaire and our (former) Davis City poet laureate. She and I once performed a duet in a PTDW concert. When I was preggers with Jocelyn, none the less. We even used a theme of women and stages of life if I remember correctly. And, in a mother more group oriented dance with her I got to be the pregnant goddess in the middle! It was so much fun. Allegra is probably near 90 by now. At one into years ago we celebrated her 77th or 80th birthday.

    Gosh, she is so much older than me and probably has a better working brain than mine. Ha!

    Thanks for the blog. I was able to live the rally vicariously through you.

    Love, Sabrina

    Sent from my iPad

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: