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.

The Focus Groups

Cedar Rapids (or Peter Rapids as one sign declared) was the center of the Democratic world there for a minute while 19 candidates attended the Democratic Hall of Fame Celebration on Sunday. The day before a whole lot of them were in Des Moines for Pride Fest, and most made a weekend of it with multiple events all over the place.

from The Gazette: Bernie, Kamala, Elizabeth, Cory, Amy, Kirsten, ?, ?, Beto, Tulsi, ?, Eric, ?, ?, Julian, Joe, Pete, ?, ?, Andrew, Marianne, ??, Jay?, Bill?
?=indistinguishable white guy candidate
??=unknown black guy candidate

yrmama’s Friday night was all about Bernie and hunger, Saturday was for Jay and Cory, Sunday was Pete, more Cory, and sightings of Bernie again and Kamala and certain hearing loss from the yelling TYT Army. Why were they angry at us? Were they angry at us or just…yelling? In between all those events yrmama held focus groups.

My dental hygienist got all worked up Friday afternoon with her hands in my mouth. It was hard to hold my own. She said, “well…I like Pete,” and a lot of other political things. She does not like Donald but knows a lot of folks who do. I do not know anybody who likes him. Another member of the Friday focus group told yrmama all about vanloads of diverted ballots, the hackers who vote remotely from nursing homes and, for some reason, the Whale Cycle. It’s kind of like the water cycle, but whales.

The large Saturday noon group determined that it is time to prohibit baby boomers from running for office. That means anyone older than yrmama because 1964 can count as a transitional year, right? The cusp. yrmama swings both ways. Donald, W and Bill were all born the same summer in 1946, Joe is four years older than them and Bernie is six years older than them. Kamala is 55, so in by a hair, and Cory is only 50. According to this metric, Elizabeth, a peppy 70, needs to step away from the microphone as well.

Towards the end of this session it got really real. “so, yrmama,” he said with sneaky menace, “which of the candidates has the best plan for completely disenfranchising all Trumpers? We’ve got all the evidence we need that representative democracy is a failure, so if someone is going to be in charge it better be us.”

To which yrmama calmly replied, “I love you, dude. I raised you to be this passionate and I’m proud of you. Who indeed?” Well, that didn’t get us anywhere, but the bile pressure was thereby reduced a bit. It brought the righteous anger of the good that is ominously burbling under the crust of society into focus and that’s valuable.

Sunday morning was, as usual, a confab of sweet middle aged ladies who think Pete is adorable, waiting for him to appear like a sprite from the mist. They said things like, “This is the first time I’ve been to any kind of political thing in years.” And “Well…I like Pete, but Elizabeth is good too. And I hope this doesn’t offend you, yrmama, but Joe is just too damn old.” At which point yrmama mentions Bernie and they go off. “Bernie’s even older! Oh no. I hope he’s not the one you like. I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Look, if yrmama’s feelings were gunna be hurt by sweet Iowan ladies cautiously stating their opinions there’d be nothing left in here but scar tissue.

Coming Next! Bernie at Sinclair Auditorium for a taping of Political Party Live.