Sanders ‘Berns’ up San Diego

Lillian Lokonobei, Staff Writer

Over 12,000 people made their way to the San Diego Convention Center to see Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speak as a part of his campaign trail on March 22. Upon my arrival at 3 p.m., I was met with a line that stretched from the main entrance located by Exhibit Hall A and wrapped westward along the building towards the yacht docks by Embarcadero. The atmosphere was filled with nothing but excitement and optimism for Sanders. The crowd was a beautiful, diverse mix of young, old, people of all races, ethnicities, LGBT members, and all in between. The people united there that day were a direct representation of the diverse values of a man’s vision for the United State, unity.

Despite the massive line, and the rumor that Senator Sanders wouldn’t be speaking until 8 p.m., people waited for the doors to open up at 5:00 p.m. Conversing with others who came for the rally, I tried to gauge their thoughts about the presidential hopeful. One commonality was Hope. Sanders was the only candidate to many that seemed to be a beacon of hope for our diverse nation. Other people came to give him a chance to sway and influence their opinion of him. There were supporters all over with little sign of opposition—Trump and Clinton supporters—at the rally. The grueling wait was the only hard part. Petition workers were pestering people in line to sign clipboards with various laws that needed signatures. “Feel The Bern” T-shirts were for sale by street merchants, as well as buttons, banners, bumper stickers and other items showing support for the senator.

Doors opened at 5 p.m. and cheers erupted as the long line of people begun to file through the doors. Secret service men and security guards were posted all over the convention center hall. I was astonished at the orderly manner in how they managed to screen 12,000 people in a TSA-style fashion in a matter of a few hours.

The waiting game continued as we stood for about three hours for the rally to commence. In between beach ball balloons being tossed in the air for entertainment and an aux-cord DJ playing familiar tunes, areas of the crowd collapsed onto the floor to eat, for a game of cards, and just to rest their tired legs from standing all day.

The moment we all anxiously waited for began as we turned to see CNN broadcasting live from behind us…a jaw dropping moment for anyone. The reporters and analysts were reporting on the results from Arizona. They announced candidate Hillary Clinton as the forecasted winner of the primary and the crowd booed in disappointment. The ground seemed to hum as we waited between commercial breaks for senator Bernie Sanders to speak. As we waited, the west side of the crowd began to applause and cheer as Rosario Dawson, actress, walked on stage to introduce Sanders.

Bernie Sanders walked on stage as crowds applauded for what felt like five minutes straight. All signs of fatigue and anxiety left the room as people chanted “feel the bern” and clapped as he positioned himself at the podium to speak. We were in the presence of what could be our next president…a moment that seemed to make time stand still. The speech that followed was powerful. Each issue that he spoke on was followed by a plan he hoped to implement if voted in as president of the United States. He fired us up, all 12,000 of us, as he promised the changes he would make as president. The 45-minute speech was enough to raise up all hope held down by doubt. The democratic presidential candidate then waved to the crowd as we gave him a final roar of applause as he departed.

The evening was historic. People of all walks of life came to give Sanders a chance to prove himself as the best potential candidate for presidency. It was inspiring seeing how diverse the room was when staring out at the rows of people gathered there in support.