The Experience: My Day at a Bernie Rally

Carina Smith, Editor

Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist announced his campaign rally at Bartle Hall on Monday. Just two short days later, Sanders met with over 7,000 people to try and promote his campaign before the Kansas caucus on March 5 and the Missouri caucus on March 15.

And I was there- right in the middle of the crowd, with a perfectly aligned view of the little white haired man. But let’s rewind a bit.

First came the trek to (and around) Bartle Hall at 10:15 in the morning. My hands were icicles and I was walking into a war completely blind as to what was going to be in front of me. The crowd had become so large, it wrapped around Bartle Hall, and when we came to the end we actually just found ourselves at the beginning. The line was a circle, and we were at the front of it and at the end. Yeah, it makes no sense to me either.

As we sat under the bridge, blocking each other from the wind and cigarette smoke, I saw Westboro Baptist Church with their offensive signs sitting across the street. They pretty much just got an eye roll from everyone before we went back to laughing at septum piercings and trying to avoid the volunteers asking us to give good ol’ Bernie our information so he can e-mail us 15 times a day.

I really wish I could tell you my favorite part of waiting, but there’s just too many things to choose from. The volunteers with oversized Bernie shirts, the man who kept walking around chanting, the middle school girls who screamed about how expensive college is, the guy with the multiple neck and hand tattoos who stood in front of me. They were all so eccentric in their own way that they really made the people watching even better than I could have imagined.

When the security was finally done setting up their SIX security check-in spots (you know, the whole take off your jackets, empty your bags, walk through a metal detector thing), it took quite a while of just standing there as one by one they let people into the rally. We got lucky and didn’t have to stand outside for too long, but we did wait in security for ages.

Once we got inside and upstairs, everyone was excited and ready to go. But slowly, the excitement died. People tossed around times that they heard he was coming on stage, the weaker ones started to question if seeing the aging old man was really worth the pain on their feet, and others excitedly chattered and complained about Hillary. Oh, and then there was guy vaping in the front row. So, it was pretty much exactly how you would expect a socialist rally would take place.

Finally, after waiting inside for almost two hours, we got… a suburban mom decked out in Bernie gear asking us to donate to his campaign. And for reasons still unbeknownst to me, people were digging it big time. There was chanting, there was screaming, I’m pretty sure the blue-haired girl next to me almost started a mosh pit.

And then the suburban mom left, and we were left with the country/pop/rock’n’roll/dance music that was blasting over the gigantic speakers.

Finally, the auditorium hit its maximum amount, and the children they piled into the bleachers all took our their Bernie masks and danced along to an early 80’s pop song, and the balding old guy that has thousands of people walked onto the stage. And the crowd went wild (but not nearly as wild as a crowd gets in a Chiefs vs. Raiders game).

He first sounded very humble, apologizing for making us wait so long because they tried to get as many people in as they could. And then, the man who looked like he could break a hip from walking on it wrong started in on his prepared speech- and man was he mad. Like I feel bad for anyone near him because they probably got hit with some Sander’s spit ™ more than once.

I still would like to have a sit-down with his speech writer, just to ask how many times he pushed “copy-paste” in that speech because all Bernie did was talk about the same five topics over and over and over and over again. Really. That’s all his 45-minute speech was. No solutions, no plans, just the same issues repeated again and again so the crowd will hoot and holler and wave their hands around in the air.

So all-in-all, the people who attended were a lot more interesting than the old man who screamed into a microphone, but if Bernie does win at least I’ll have the right to brag that I once saw the president in the wrinkled flesh.


P.S. Bernie, if you ever read this and decide you need a new speechwriter (which you do), feel free to hit a girl up.