It’s a big city. My brother doesn’t want to do the cities, but I want to see Seattle and B.C. in person. We’re not going to stay long, we’ve got people to find in Montana. And we’re running out of cash.
I’m at Zeitgeist coffee right now, and we’re paying by the minute for our parking. We’re not staying downtown long, either headed to Regina’s soon, or finding a campsite. Or maybe we’re just going to drive to Montana tonight, with a big mug of coffee. Who knows. That’s been the beauty of our trip, and at times the torture. You couldn’t have planned out the things we’ve been doing.
This morning before we left Portland, we took Lisa out for brunch. Ben and I ordered mimosas and Lisa got a spicy bloody mary at ten on a Monday morning. The waiter had a deadpan personality with a tattoo of a black cat firecracker on his calf. He informed us that our seats were going to be $35 an hour, and we had better finish our plates because they didn’t do to-go boxes here.
The food was amazing. This city is full of breakfast joints, which are really the only joints that I can justify spending a good amount of money on.
It turns out, all you have to do is cross the river in Portland, and you’re in Washington.
In the state of Washington, all of the highway exits exist in the shape of George Washington’s profile.
“This is exactly what I imagined this state to be like,” my brother comments, blandly.
Yesterday afternoon, Ben and I had lunch at the food trucks. I got Thai and he got a tater tot/egg/bacon/cheese concoction.
Ben and Jim had sat down with maps, as promised, and Jim painted Ben a portrait of Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria. He also talked about his career as a photojournalist in Asia when he was younger, his phd in Eastern religions, and then getting a “real job” at 40.
I finished my second dinner, and then we headed back to Lisa’s to drive downtown and see Bernie together.
“Feel the Bern”
We’re standing in line for the Bernie Sander’s rally. It’s Melissa, Ben, Lisa, John, Maggie and I. We all smashed into Maggie’s new car that she bought that day, four people in the back, to get here. We’ve been waiting a long time, and then someone announces that we might not get in. They’re already filling up.
We wait around for a few seconds, what should we do? Maggie takes charge.
“I’m going to talk to Mr. Microphone…” she says, walking off.
A few minutes later, she signals for us to get out of line and follow her. It’s hopeless, we’re not going to get in so we’re heading over to the video projection outside. There is two times the turnout here than there was in Seattle last night, it’s the biggest crowd Sanders has seen.
Not thirty seconds after we leave the line though, they open the doors and the crowds pour in.
“That’s not fair,” Maggie decides, and walks toward the front of the line through a side entrance.
That approach is greeted by loud opposition, but she doesn’t care. She knows what she thinks is right, and that’s all that matters to her.
It’s something we can all learn from.
Maggie stands her ground in the line while Lisa and I hesitate, amid the boos.
“The embarrassment will only last a few minutes,” John tells us as we cower from the aggressive crowd, but finally make a run for it through the doors as well.
“I’ve never been booed before…” Melissa comments to me after we make it into the auditorium.
We sit down in our seats and my brother turns to me, “I can’t believe we did that. This has been one wild ride.”
The lesson from this story is, If you want something, you make it happen. There’s no argument with anyone but yourself. Figure out what you think, and then stand behind it. If you want to see Bernie, you will see Bernie.
Inside, they are blasting reggae music. I wonder if this is what Bernie listens to when he’s amping himself up, too.
We have great seats, in the stands right behind where he’ll be speaking.
My brother comments that “he misses seeing the Westboro baptist church protesting.” He’s right, it’s been an essential ingredient to any progressive event we’ve ever been to in Kansas.
“Okay… why are we clapping?” Two or three times before Sanders actually comes out to talk, the audience slides into mob mentality, and stands up and claps madly for no reason. And we, being part of the mob, do so as well.
Bernie’s new press secretary, Symone Sanders, comes out and warns us that there might be a disruption during tonight’s rally. And if that happens, we are supposed to chant, “We stand together.” Symone is beautiful and empowering and smart as hell and I want to vote for her for president.
There’s a union worker woman, a guy addressing immigration, and then a girl talking about climate change. It’s all really obvious, Bernie is a super old white man who, in an attempt to appeal to the masses, has picked out these young people from different backgrounds and genders to speak before him.
And it works, I feel like Bernie is way more in touch with today’s politics just because these beautiful young people on stage with him believe he’s the way for change.
Bernie has got all the rhetoric, and reminds me of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. But it’s almost too perfect, and I think about all the empty promises politicians always make. And I’d love for everything that Bernie’s promising to come true, but it all seems so idealistic and broad, I wonder what issues he will actually have time to focus on if he makes it into office.
I am impressed with his focus on racial equality, but I am more impressed with the Black Lives Matter ladies in Seattle from the weekend who shut down his speech and didn’t let him talk, drawing attention to the Black Lives Matter cause and remembrance of Mike Brown.
I’m happy to see the activism. I’m happy to feel like other people are participating in shaping Bernie’s views, and America’s not just trusting him as their “best bet” and tip toeing around him, afraid he’ll change his seemingly radical views and become the traditional old white male politician that he is.
“This is by FA’ the LA’gest CROWD… You, Po’tland, you have done it better than anyone else.”
He talks about the 1% with the same percent of the wealth that the bottom 90% of the US has. He tells us that the US is no longer a democracy, it’s an oligarchy. And we’re going to change that, together.
“This campaign is sending the message to the billionaire class, yes we have guts to take you on.”
I want to know, you older generation, have you ever heard a candidate say something like this? Is it obviously political rhetoric, an attempt to win the votes from the young people? Has anyone made a promise like this before?
Everyone starts chanting “Bernie,” and all I can do is think about my Grandpa Bernie.
“We’re going to get American corporations to invest in the US, not in other countries… Greed, arrogance, these are some words to describe what goes on on Wall Street. The greed of corporate America is destroying this country. Enough is enough, it’s going down,” Bernie’s really getting into it now.
“He’s so cute…” Melissa leans over and confides in me.
We both smile, taking in the scene happening below us.
Bernie starts talking about raising minimum wage, and a boy on the screen sitting behind Bernie who’s been waiting for this moment jumps up and down with his “15 for Portland” sign.
The man sitting below us uses his smartphone and googles, “Living wage…”
Bernie talks about equal pay for women, “Men, I’m looking at you… This has got to change.” Gay rights receive loud cheers as well as environmentalism and international policies.
“We’re going to make war a last resort, not a first resort. We’re also going to get paid medical, family and vacation leave. Twelve weeks.” Bernie raises his voice, wiping the sweat off his forehead.
“They get over a year for family leave in Canada…” the man sitting behind me mumbles.
“The US population works longer hours than any other major country. We’re going to make sure that if you’re working overtime, you’re not living at the poverty level anymore. And student loans…”
Here the crowd goes wild.
“It’s our responsibility as ‘UMAN BEINGS to take care of this problem!”
“Kids having a criminal record for a bit of weed, but CEOs destroy our national economy and get away with it for nothing… If it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist. I want whoever wants to run for office to be able to do so without begging billionaires to support them. That’s why we must move to publicly funded elections.”
“The only country on Earth who what?” I lean over and ask my brother, having missed a few words.
He opens his eyes, awaking in a shock. “Oh. I have no fucking idea. I’m- not— listening…” he admits with a smile.
He’s going to go and campaign for Bernie in Kansas City, though. He bought a Bernie button and everything.
After it was all said and done, I realized that I wanted to get back in the world again. I went home and researched current foreign policy, and am slowly slipping back into the current day and age. I don’t want to be in politics, but I want to be able to sip it like a good mug of coffee throughout the day.
And you know what?
I want change.
I’m exploring the world right now, I’m seeing the world.
I’m seeing the liberal oasis of the USA, and I’m seeing what parts of it I want to jump into and change even more.
I’m seeing connection and communication and art.