I am home from the Town Hall here in Phoenix. [View all]
Last edited Sun Jul 19, 2015, 07:29 AM - Edit history (1)
Damn! Where to start.
Y'all can watch the Youtube videos of the speech so I won't go into great detail on it, but I do want to share what the experience was like.
So, we arrived at around 5:30pm to already forming crowds. I got to talk to some very nice folks while we waiting to work our way inside the hall. Already, I could see the incredible diversity that puts to rest the incredible lies both in the media and here on DU that Sanders only appeals to older white folks. Blacks, Latino's, men, women, older, and younger were all there. All of us excited to hear Sanders speak to all our issues.
As we waited, I connected with an old friend from my MBA program from the early 2000's. This man and his wife are staunch Republicans, or so I thought given what I knew then. I expressed my utter surprise at seeing them there. His reply? The bank he was made VP of was one of the ones shut down after the 2008 crisis. He felt that his small local bank was punished for the actions of the Wall Street giant banks. It took years for him to get new work. He and his wife lost a child due to a miscarriage they both admitted was caused in part by so much of their financial stress. It was heart breaking hearing all of this. They want and need change. He admitted being wrong about GW Bush and while still a conservative, he is now drawn to Sander's message of true economic change. Again, all I can say is wow!
So, we go inside. The hall has a large divider and it was down. As the hall filled, the crowd has to have topped out at between 10,000 and 12,000 people. I have not been in such a crowd since some of my arena concert going days.
The crowd still growing caused a delay in the start of the speech. A local black man that I know personally spoke to us about the delay. Yeah, I know, a black man. Then finally it began. A Hispanic woman introduced Sanders. She wasn't a great speaker but obviously loves his message. Then Sanders started.
He was amazing. Not in a hero-worshippy sort of way, but rather, he was passionate, pointed, and hit all of the main points of what traditional progressive liberalism should really be about. He talked about economic parity. He spoke about immigration. He talked about things we have all seen from other speeches. He did hit a few other points I hadn't seen him reference.
One was about CU and how the youth should be encouraged to run for office and not have to pay such a high price to do so. The crowd full of a lot of young people were seriously impressed. From there he went on to free public university education. Man the crowd went insane. Chanting and yelling. Student loan reform drew a huge amount of applause as well.
So what else? Well, we have a large Hispanic Catholic community here. When Sanders spoke about Pope Francis and climate change, he received a large roar from the crowd. The group I was with included some of the members of my Ile. We had a gay man with us, a post-op transgender woman, an older conservative Italian immigrant, and a very old Cuban woman who spoke next to no English. She had a translator present, and it was obvious that she too was loving what he was saying.
I know about what happened this morning with BlackLivesMatter and the Netroot Townhall. I will address that later in other posts. But I can tell you that what happened had literally ZERO impact on what occurred tonight with Sanders speech. Lots of blacks were in attendance. Some of the protesters themselves were there people. They are listening. Hell, we are listening. He called out the dividers for who they are - the GOP and I know that includes the New Dems as well. Those are the people who divide us by race, gender, sexuality, economic class, and race. He was the inclusive candidate par excellence tonight. And the crowd's noise reflected that!
We have overcome a lot of racism, and we have a long way to go is what he said, has said, and continues to say. He spoke out about violence against blacks by the police. He got standing ovations from those sitting down when he talked about the need to hold police officers that perpetrate such violence must be held accountable. So yes, I am going to say this loud and clear, fuck all of the DU Clinton supporters that push this bullshit meme that Sanders is not supportive of POC (BlackLivesMatter or immigration!). It is a divisive campaign tactic with no basis in reality. For fuck's sake he quoted Frederick Douglas!
It was a well delivered, passionate, and intelligent speech. He fired up this Phoenix crowd! The energy in the room by the end of speech was palpable. He spent time after making his way through the dispersing crowd. I was too far in the back to get a chance to personally connect with him myself. All of the people that I saw making their way out were fired up and emboldened by his speech. There is some serious and real support here now for Sanders. Tactically, Clinton made a huge mistake missing this.
I am meeting some former students tomorrow for tea to discuss what is going on here with the Sanders campaign in more depth. If the crowd was indeed around 10,000 to 12,000 people as I surmise, the grassroots outreach here is going to skyrocket. How could it not?
Overall, I come away from his speech even more certain that he is the only candidate I can vote for this round. He speaks to me on so many issues that impact me and those around me that I care about. He supports minorities. He supports the youth. He supports real economic change. He is personally a what you see is what you get kind of guy. Call him gruff or unkempt or not polished and I am glad that he is all those things and more. He is real, and as he said in his speech, a president alone can not make all the changes that are necessary. It will take ALL of us to do that. Obama blew that in his first days in office. Imagine for one moment what it would have been like had Obama chosen a lesbian Episcopal priest to give his inaugural benediction instead of Rick Warren?
Whew, I am one tired, hot, but excited man right now.