It was a Saturday morning. My friends and I were in the midst of an already-long weekend after traveling to Lake George, New York the day before for a conference.
I was exhausted.
It had been a busy week.
I was ready to get back to my warm dorm room in my cozy bed and rest up for the week that was ahead of me.
But as I was daydreaming about the first moment my body sinks into the Memory Foam mattress pad, engulfing me in this new world of comfort I so much desired, my buddy approached me.
“Yo man, Twiddle is coming to New Hampshire for the Bernie rally, you wanna go?”
A guilty smirk came across my face.
The rally was tomorrow, which meant we’d have to leave almost as soon as we got back from Lake George. My answer?
I thought he wasn’t being serious. I thought it was just a suggestion that would evaporate as we realized how tired we would be.
The next day came.
Five friends and I were loaded up in the car, fresh off an hour-and-a-half drive from Lake George back to Castleton University, heading to Keene State College.
There’s something about being spontaneous that makes an adventure much more exciting. No one ever goes on a random trip without knowing no matter what happens it’ll be fun.
Whatever happens, it’s all part of the journey.
So here I was, on my way to see my favorite band and my first presidential rally ever. No care in the world.
The ride to New Hampshire was filled with great conversation, endless smiles, more laughter than usual, some sleeping and of course, lots of Twiddle music.
Two of my trip companions were senior Jay Mullen and freshman Julie Leppo.
Leppo was particularly excited for the trip.
“I really enjoy going to political rallies. I think that it’s like a really good experience that everyone should try to go to,” she said.
It started snowing, rather hard at some points, but we just kept going.
And when we finally arrived at Keene State, we didn’t necessarily cheer in excitement, but there was a moment of relief until we all laid our eyes on the second part of the trip.
The dreaded mile-long line, which filled the sidewalks of campus, backed up to the road and wound around the many buildings.
We kept going, smiles on our face. Everyone was smiling. There were all different types of people, but the one commonality was the positive vibes and sense of respect that filled the brisk air.
The line moved slowly but consistently. We were all still exhausted from the many hours of travelling, but as the light at the end of the line shined through the glass entrance, the excitement overpowered the fatigue.
After three-and-a-half hours of more travel and waiting in line, we were in.
As I said earlier, this was my first ever presidential rally that I attended. The whole experience was going to be unique to me.
It sure was.
I’ve been to baseball, football, hockey and basketball games. I’ve been to concert
s. I’ve been to plenty of large events. I know what the energy feels like in a building when a crowd is roaring. Everyone around you is in sync and you’re just a small part of it.
I never thought a presidential rally would muster up that energy.
I have never been a very political person. This was a brand new experience for me.
Granted, the size of the venue wasn’t as big as Fenway Park or a music hall, but whenever Sanders made a statement about his political ideologies, the crowd went wild. It was a different type of energy. It was empowering.
And these people are dedicated. They waited in a line for nearly an hour in the cold snowy night. There were supporters walking up and down the sides chanting, warming the crowd up for the energy inside.
The people were also super nice. It was a friendly environment.
“The people were very respectful. They were all there just cheering on, not being too crazy or anything,” said Mullen. “It was a very accepting type of feel in that gymnasium. It’s what I hope we can carry on after the elections in 2020.”
Part of this energy was created by the opening acts, if you will. Many guest speakers addressed the crowd, building up to the main event of Sanders.
“All of the speakers that went before Bernie were super good. Ohio’s Democratic Sen. Nita Turner was there and she introduced him, and her speech before Bernie’s was super good. She really reiterated the points that he was gonna get across and got everyone really excited,” Leppo said.
To me, it was eye-opening to see how electrified the crowd was. Regardless of the points being made, everyone in that room was connected by common mindsets. They were united.
As for what was being said by Sanders, I am still not the most political person, so I’ll let my friends give their take on it before I do.
Mullen is a huge supporter of Sanders. He spoke highly of Sanders’ universal health care for all and his plans for helping the environment, and he was really hoping for one change in particular.
“The one thing that comes
to my mind is the student debt being canceled,” he said. “As a student who is going to leave college in crippling debt, that is something to look forward to.”
Leppo was excited to hear what Sanders has in mind for teachers.
“My mom’s a teacher and one of his biggest things is making sure that teachers are paid enough for all the stuff that they deal with, so that really resonated with me,” she said.
It was honestly incredible. Anytime he would make a point, the crowd would go wild.
He called for a $15 minimum wage.
The crowd exploded.
He said that marijuana must be legal.
The tokers in the room rejoiced.
He stated he would relieve student loan debt and provide free education.
At a college campus, you can imagine how loud that room was.
Free health care?
I thought I felt the ground shake. We were in a college gymnasium. It rumbled.
I’ll say it one more time, I’m not the most political person. All of his points sounded great, but with the divide we have in this country right now, I can’t see any improvements any time soon.
I just hope that no matter what happens, we find change. The world needs to be a better place. I’m tired of seeing all the bullshit in the news, all over social media, absolutely ruining what could be such a beautiful life.
Let’s come together as a nation and find our own common goal. Stop attacking each other. Just be kind. Change is needed now. Let’s make it happen.