Live & In Color: Bernie Sanders in Appleton, Wisconsin

The dynamic I witnessed today at the Bernie Sander’s Rally in Appleton, Wisconsin was unlike anything I’ve ever seen or been a part of, ever. When thousands of people come together with one common denominator there is a vibe that makes you want to pump your fists and high five until it hurts; and that’s before even getting inside.

We had a hard time deciding what time to arrive, how early is too early? Living less than ten minutes away, logically my husband and I pulled out of our driveway at 7:45am  with a door-opening of 9:30am.  Come to find out, the first people showed up at the Appleton Performing Art Center, ready to wait for Bernie, at two o’clock in the AM and a few hundred earlier than us.

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Our POV
Photo by Graham Washatka - www.grahamimages.net
Photo by Graham Washatka – www.grahamimages.net

Scanning the faces of all these people we are passing while making our way to the end of the line, which weaved around the venue and down the block at this point, I’m finding average college kids, hippies galore, old ladies and any other stereotype you can come up with. There are street vendors with wagons filled with T-shirts and buttons screaming into megaphones about a revolution. There are people running for congress handing out information – and an old Jewish socialist brought us all here.

If you’re in need of some free education…

Democratic Socialism Is Not: Communism

Democratic Socialism Is: People Over Profit

If you’d like further information… click here. 

I’ve never been in the presence of the Secret Service before and scenes from The Blacklist just started spinning around in my overly-excited brain once we got inside. I’ll go ahead and state the obvious… those guys mean serious business. Don’t make a joke… is all I kept repeating while making my way to the metal detector.

When we made our way to the seats, up in the 2nd balcony, there were roughly two hours before Senator Sanders was scheduled to begin speaking. The anticipation was not to hear what he has to say… I know what he’s going to say. I’m well versed in Bernie’s speeches and policies – but it’s like hearing your favorite song live for the first time.

Photo by Graham Washatka - www.grahamimages.net
Photo by Graham Washatka – www.grahamimages.net

Chants of his name echoed throughout while people started the wave; I saw high fives, people embracing and shaking hands that I feel never would have crossed paths otherwise. Everyone was happy. Everyone was there with the same radical ideas. Bernie Sanders has brought people together, he has opened the minds of people who have dismissed politics and felt complacent with more than a few terribly corrupt government happenings.

When the Senator made his way to the podium, I made a conscience decision to take in my surroundings and if I’m being honest, I’m having a hard time putting my experience into words. There was so much hope, excitement and awe at once, but it was so far from being overwhelming – I didn’t want the cheering to stop. He expressed his views, plans and hopes for our country while the audience never stopped encouraging him for more with standing ovations and outbursts of support. I’ll tell you what there was not also, there were zero violent incidents.

When it was over he made his way to shake hands with supporters and even offer some hugs to attendees who were close enough – like those dedicated 2-am-ers.

Photo by Graham Washatka - www.grahamimages.net
Photo by Graham Washatka – www.grahamimages.net

For the husband and I, seeing and hearing him with our own eyes was plenty to fill our cup. Bernie Sanders reeks of genuine compassion and truth. I left feeling proud to be a part of his movement and ready to place my early vote for him here in Wisconsin tomorrow. I urge all my Wisconsin friends and followers to at least take a look at his policies and if he’s not the candidate for you – at least go out and vote for who is on April 5th. Find your polling place: HERE.

[Okay, okay…I know I said if he’s not for you to vote for who is, but I challenge you to find another candidate running for president who flies coach, has voted consistently for 20+ years and radical or not, has the American people’s best interest at heart.]