Live music & swag at Bernie's campaign kickoff at Keene's packed Colonial Theater
Updated: Mar 12, 2019
Keene NH — On a snowing, sleeting March afternoon, the usual crowds that wait long hours to see Senator Bernie Sanders, were slow to form. Just 15 minutes before the doors opened, a long line began to form and kept growing.
It was the first Bernie Sanders event I attended where I had to empty my pockets and be scanned. I quickly moved down to the front and found the closest aisle seat to the stage, where I saw a collection of guitars and amps. Is Bernie going to jam out on stage?
About 45 minutes before Bernie was about to speak, Roots of Creation, a NH band, arrived on stage, talked to the audience briefly and began playing. By the time speakers began, the crowd was primed for the main event.
Several local young people spoke, with compelling, personal stories, a standard at Sanders rallies. Bernie hit the stage to a bouncing, thrilled, audience, raring to go. Small American flags and Bernie signs were handed out to the first few rows. At the back of the theater, people in the balcony had large letters spelling out Bernie's name.
The little girl in the seat in front of me was about 8 years old. Every time the crowd applauded, she bopped up and down, holding up her Bernie sign and took video on her mother's phone.
In his usual fashion, Bernie Sanders mapped out his plan. He listed issue after issue, defining the problem and its source, how it impacts Americans, and the solution.
When I heard Bernie speak on a blustery day last fall in a Manchester church, he wouldn't call Trump a liar in a house of worship, but there was no holding him back on Sunday. In fact, he had the audience laughing, calling out responses to his decries that his policies were "too radical" in 2016, but are mainstream candidate issues for the 2020 election.
Bernie left the stage, off to his next event, to a standing ovation of happy supporters. That's the thing about Bernie. People stand in extreme heat or cold for hours, waiting to see him. The go in happy and they leave happy.
He has mapped out how to be a leader of the people, to stand up to corporate America, Big agriculture, the pharmaceutical companies and the fossil fuel industry, and yet most of the candidates running against him for president are still unwilling to disconnect from big money in politics. They borrow his issues, his style and call themselves progressives, but most are anything but. They play it safe, protect their careers and do as their told by their party.
Washington DC has a few new legislators with ethics and the chutzpah to take on the establishment, but one has to see past the charisma of many to know where they really stand. I'll take the original, the real Bernie Sanders, who has never wavered, has delivered a consistent message of, for and by the people for his entire career. I'll be watching other candidates and asking questions, but there is only one candidate who can unite people from both parties and defeat Trump. Bernie 2020.