Bernie Sanders came to town.
I hadn’t seen him since the DNC, or Battle of Philly, where I was a National Delegate for Sanders.
I went as an observer this time as I am unsure of my place in the Democratic Party now and wanted to get a feel for whether there was real unity in the party. My experience locally tells me that there isn’t.
You see, when I hear Unity from the ‘establishment’ Dems I hear: “Be quiet and don’t criticize, because Drumpf is bad” OR “You are naive and don’t know what you are talking about, so tow the line and play the game.”
This report on the Salt Lake City (SLC) event is more about what I heard around the event than the event itself. If you want to watch the actual event you can do so at our local Fox 13 News Site, here.
I stood in line for well over an hour to get in and everyone I spoke to called it a Bernie rally. Now, bear in mind that Bernie won the Caucus in Utah by around 80% to 20% so he’s a popular guy here on the left.
But it was ALL about Bernie. The event goers and the vendors. It was very clear that no one was there to see Perez and most didn’t even know who he was or that he was speaking.
Once inside, and just before the actual event began, whoever chose the music played Simon and Garfunkel’s America. For those of you that were as immersed in the Sanders campaign as I, you will remember that this song was used for one of Sanders’s major campaign ads. And, in fact, this contributor was IN THE AD!! That’s my daughter and I to the right of Jane Sanders at an early rally in Las Vegas. Interesting choice of song for the Come Together Rally, don’t you think? You can watch the whole ad here if you wish to soak up the memories of that hopeful time.
Our State Party Chair spoke first and, amongst many other things, said that we all have a common thread, and that is Drumpf. Corroon’s speech was a good one. He spoke about a higher minimum wage, paid family leave, the need for science, and equality for all. And our common goals of turning Utah Blue and KEEPING America great.
After speeches about healthcare and immigration, Pramila Jayapal took the stage. She is a progressive to watch. Like Sanders, Jayapal speaks about actual actions and issues such as the College Bill for All that she and Sanders are putting forward.
Her quotable moment was: “We are all better off when we’re all better off.”
Perez took the stage next to boos and cries of ‘shame on you’ to some of the protesters from others in the crowd.
Unity? Shamed if you disagree with the establishment?
Perez gave 4 reasons why he is doing the tour.
- Traveling with Sen. Sanders and the opportunity to listen and learn. – GREAT!! More of that, please.
- Party has work to do and we have to earn your trust. – Again, MORE of that, please.
- Erm, I missed number three amongst the rhetoric that didn’t give any definite answers other than electing Dems from the school board up.
- Because we have the most dangerous President in America and we must be together. – Erm, this brings me back to the points I made around unity. And also reminds me of why Hillary lost: saying vote Dem because Drumpf is bad didn’t win then and won’t win now.
Perhaps I’m being unfair. He made some good points about Democratic beliefs but made no commitments to getting Corporate money out of politics or any definite plans. And of course, he ignored any calls to get rid of the Super Delegates or for Medicare for all/single payer healthcare because, quite frankly, he doesn’t support those policies.
Most of Perez’s speech was anti-Drumpf. I want to hear what we are going to DO not why Drumpf is bad. That truth is self-evident to anyone on the left.
Finally, what we were all waiting for.
Bernie gave what was basically the same stump speech he made during the Primaries a thousand times. The same speech that he has been making for as long as I remember.
Bernie laid out what the country wants and where we should be spending money. He did speak to Drumpf voters too. A shift from the usual Drumpf is bad rhetoric. He asked Drumpf voters questions. Now isn’t that a more productive approach?
But the best part?
Well there are two.
Seeing the faces of those that had never been to a Sanders rally light up with the recognition that this guy is offering real answers.
And the last four minutes that seemed to be directed right at the Democratic Establishment where he said (and I paraphrase):
Don’t tell me that the USA can’t provide healthcare for all.
Don’t tell me that all our kids, regardless of income, can’t go to college.
Don’t tell me that we can’t overturn Citizens United.
Don’t tell me that we can’t lead the world in fighting climate change.
Why is that the best part for me? Because we CAN and the Establishment Dems say we can’t.
To sum up. I only saw Unity in the fact that Sanders and Perez shared the stage. Which is fabulous. I’m not yet convinced that the Establishment is prepared to change enough for this and other Progressives.
I continue to observe.