Oh Bernie – Bernie Sanders – Cedar Rapids June 7

Common Dreams, INC

Friday afternoon JM and yrmama parked one of our many Teslas in a hospital ramp and hightailed it over to Sinclair Auditorium. It was a ticketed event, a taping of Political Party Live, but since Bernie is famous we wanted to be early enough to claim good seats. One hour before the door opens was not early enough for Pete or Elizabeth so we felt we were cutting it close. But no, three people stood by the door at 5.

The only people who eat supper before six live in institutions (Hi Martha!), so we were waiting until after even though I was hungry. It was starting to look like a long haul especially since the earliness was wasted. yrmama reclined on a shady bench nearby and waited for a decent line to form. ——–> fast forward ——-> the auditorium was half full if I’m being generous; a couple hundred people. Elizabeth Moen and her band played a great opening set, two guests spoke, and then Bernie appeared.

He’s tall, but stooped. He’s got a very powerful voice and when people start applauding before he’s done making his point he waves his irritated hand to shush them. He’s less of his caricature in person and I can see why people like him. Everything is about economic justice.

Bernie made it sound like he’s not feeling the idea of reparations for ADOS. Instead, he wants to invest a lot in disadvantaged neighborhoods which he says would end up doing the same thing and help other folks simultaneously.

yrama says, “hmph. That’s evasive and doesn’t even acknowledge the issue.”

You might say, “but yrmama, isn’t money the issue?”

yrmama would then reply, “Money isn’t an apology and it’s certainly not 40 acres and a mule which in today’s money would be at least $700,000 and a Ford F150 or two.” The big dum dum, what’s he thinking? Even if you don’t want to do reparations you have to make it sound like you understand.

I don’t know what Bernie did all day Saturday, but on Sunday he was walking and yelling with a group of protesting McDonald’s workers in Cedar Rapids. I watched them moving down the street from an upper level of the hotel they were aiming for. Bernie’s head and neck were bright red and he didn’t look very to hearty to me.

NextUp

The next scheduled campaign event in Iowa City is on June 9, location still TBD, but others may pop up between now and then.

This is Rosalind Greene. Have you heard of her? I hadn’t. Here’s her campaign website: https://www.rosalindgreene.com/home She’s an RN, and a veteran, born in Hopkinsville, KY and a grandmother. I am unable to give you many more details because the flickering flames on the screen started to make me feel seasick. It might be fine for you – but if you wear a shirt with black and white stripes I won’t be able to look at you either for the same weird optical reason.

I’m glad Rosalind is running and if nothing else she can have a very worthwhile impact on the primary process. For example, on her list of hot issues for 2020 she lists ADOS and tangibles. Do you know what #ADOS means? I had an inkling but then had to look it up. It means reparations for American Descendents of Slaves. (It’s about lineage, not melanin levels.) And “tangibles,” refers to the actual agenda and commitments a candidate makes to the black community. 21st Century Afropolitan on Youtube explained some things to me pretty well. Maybe you’re on black Twitter and already know everything. Good for you!

Reparations is not a crazy idea and the US has paid them a number of times; from the Japanese Americans held in American concentration camps during WWII, to survivors of police torture in Chicago in 2015 . (more reading for your free time at this link) A lot of smart people believe that for a candidate to truly take hold in black communities they will have to be able to discuss their plan for addressing these issues.

How does the legacy of slavery affect black Americans who are not DOS? Saturday night when there were seven police cars camped on my driveway I had to walk my privileged white butt out and talk to the officers. yrmama said, “My teenage son could come home anytime. He’s black, so don’t be surprised,” by which I meant, “don’t freak the fuck out and shoot the boy in the BMW.”* Mothers shouldn’t have to say things like that but we do. (Then I conferred with him and he decided to just stay at his friend’s house. It could have been the concentration of cops or it could have been me being embarrassing.)

*They were camped out here because someone else’s son was missing and his cell phone indicated he was at my house. They pinged his phone until it’s battery died. He’s not here and never was. I can’t explain it and neither can they. I hope he’s okay. I hope his parents are okay.