Saturday, January 23rd marked the first “National March For Bernie,” an event that took place in major cities all around the United States in support of the Vermont Senator’s campaign for president in 2016. Thousands came out with signs, megaphones, and a hankering for political change, while the big corporate media remained largely indifferent to the viral event.
I should know, because I was there. As a native resident of Orlando, Florida, I joined the thousands nationwide as I participated in the march that was held in my city. My obligatory marching selfie was retweeted by several other Bernie support groups around the country:
— Dylan Kelly (@DylanKellyFLA) January 23, 2016
Nearly a hundred people from Orlando came out to march, in spite of the unusually cold day we were having, with the wind nipping at our ears, spitting heavy gusts that nearly knocked us to the pavement in a couple short bursts in the early part of the afternoon. It was a rare occasion for us Floridians to break out our winter garments and put them to use, rather than stay indoors as we typically do when it gets a little chilly. This often makes our friends up north laugh at our lack of winter fortitude.
Our march began at Orlando City Hall, where our numbers steadily increased as we complained about the crappy weather we were having. In spite of the weather, every single one of us wanted to be there, and we were excited to finally gather together and to use this kind of forum to ramp up enthusiasm for our candidate before the Iowa Caucus.
Needless to say, other cities had it far worse than we did regarding unusually cold weather. But the blizzards up north did nothing to deter cities like Buffalo, New York from bringing out over 500 people to march. Cities like Chicago, Boston, and Portland reportedly drew crowds in the thousands.
When the crowd finally reached its peak, a couple of us decided to get out the megaphone and get the chants going, while the many cars driving through the busy intersection in front of city hall bore witness to an enthusiasm few had likely seen before for any presidential candidate. A surprising amount of them actually honked and cheered along with us, as we shouted “Feel the Bern” and “We the people” among other phrases.
Many of my fellow marchers followed the pedestrian walking signals as they safely crossed the street with their signs in hand, back and forth, handing out fliers to many curious drivers. At only one point where we met with any kind of open disapproval or public trolling from anybody, which involved two jacked-up frat boys driving by in their dirty truck shouting “f*ck Bernie, vote Trump.” This lasted about 5 seconds until they drove off with a pathetic sense of self-satisfaction. Our goal was to keep the event peaceful and positive, so nobody responded.
The OPD bike officers who were there to escort us then began to take their place as we started marching to nearby Lake Eola for a quick photo opp. For whatever reason, none of the local news stations sent out a reporter to ask us what the hell we were doing out in the cold marching for a presidential candidate. Only one political blogger from the area showed up to interview us.
After the march, Bernie addressed his supporters via Youtube, thanking them for all that they have done to make his campaign a truly special one for the ages. I gathered with my fellow supporters at a local Graffiti Junction to drink a pint of Cigar City Jai Alai IPA and watch the address. It was a great day for all of us.
Featured Image by blakegerold via Instagram.