Feelin’ the Bern


Lexi Manning

Senator Bernie Sanders has recently been in Michigan, campaigning for our votes in the primaries. On March 4th, he visited the Allendale GVSU Fieldhouse to give a speech, and I went to see what he’s all about.

  I’ve never been to any type of public speaking event. I’ve attended plays and concerts, but I didn’t really know what to expect from a large event like this that doesn’t include some type of musical entertainment. I didn’t know how to behave or what to wear or how long it was going to last, and no one else I talked to knew anything about it either. So, I decided to go to the Bernie event and see for myself what it was all about, and Bernie didn’t disappoint.

  The event was actually fairly horrible for the first three and a half hours. I was completely miserable. I arrived at 4:00, doors opened at 4:30, but the lines were so long we didn’t end up getting into the venue until 5:30. And, of course, I wore a light jacket that day because it was supposed to be warm, but when you’re standing in the cold for a few hours, it feels like a freezer. Not only this, but once we finally got into the venue, we were standing on the floor until 7:30, waiting patiently after every song playing in the auditorium ending for Bernie to arrive. I had figured since the doors opened at 4:30 it would be 6:00 at the latest that he would speak, and so did everyone else, but that wasn’t the case. My back felt like it was going to break; my feet felt ten times worse than my back. There was no room to sit down unless I was prepared for everyone around me to hate me, and there was no chance to go to the bathroom and still get to the same spot five minutes later. Standing for that long makes you realize what a luxury it is to be able to sit down and rest your feet.

  I’m making the rally sound horrible, but it was actually really cool. The crowd surrounding us was extremely energetic and young, people were yelling and some were dancing to the music that was played. The crowd started the wave that traveled from one side of the auditorium to the other, people were chanting and singing along to the songs, people of all ages posed for selfies and added videos of the filled auditorium to their Snapchat stories. Standing up killed our backs and feet, but when the music finally ended and people came to the podium, it felt like we just got there.

  Bernie’s speech was amazing. He’s a great public speaker; he touched on important subjects regarding his famous “free college” plan, health care, paid family and medical leave, minimum wage, and “family values,” among other subjects. With each point made, the crowd erupted with cheers and the ground shook from the volume.

  My favorite quote from the night was probably the following, “What they [the GOP] mean (by family values) is that no woman in this room, in the state, in the country should have the right to control her own body. What they mean is that our gay brothers and sisters should not have the right to get married. I disagree. What they mean is that federal government should defund Planned Parenthood. I believe we should expand (Planned Parenthood).” As a person who is liberal and very left wing, I felt hope for our future. Finally, a candidate that believes in basic human rights!

  Bernie’s rally was truly an event of passion and support. People young and old of all color were at the GVSU Fieldhouse that Friday, all joining together for the same purpose. I arrived a big Bernie supporter, and I left a bigger supporter, only with sore feet.