Irvine feels the Bern
He’s not particularly pleased with the status quo, as he made clear during his speech. And neither are the energized and engaged fans and followers of the fellow they call “Bern.”
Income inequality, trade agreements, the criminal justice system, drug laws, immigration, banking and election reform were all discussed by the candidate for the Democratic nomination. With the California primary fast approaching (it’s June 7), Sanders seems serious about his chances to upset Hillary Rodham Clinton in the state.
American and California flags waved in the breeze, and kids rolled down the grassy hill up in the open seating section. All seemed to enjoy the calm, atmosphere, which no doubt was encouraged by a strong showing by the Irvine PD and the Secret Service.
The amphitheater was crowded, but not full. The gathering had a festive, concert-like atmosphere. It was a diverse group that included kids, millenials and a few graying leftists in Grateful Dead-like shirts featuring the now familiar line drawing of Sanders’ head, hair and glasses.
A bit of advice: campaign T-shirts featuring Sanders’ face on Che Guevera’s head aren’t likely to impress moderate Democrats, let alone Republicans.
We saw no sign of protest inside the venue, just cheers as Sanders worked through his stump speech.
Outside, a small group holding signs referring to the “South American victims of Democratic Socialism” heckled attendees. “Hey bleeding hearts, want to donate to help the children of Venezuela?” they asked. No one took the bait to debate, or donate.
Whether one agrees or differs with the problems and proposals Sanders put forth, it was easy to be empathetic to the young crowd’s passion and commitment to the political process, as they yearn for a future they can believe in.