Thousands showed up to Caras Park downtown to catch the Senator from Vermont tell it like it is.
Boy, did he tell ‘em.
I was there for it all, arriving at 7:50 this morning for a quick look around and then coming back at about 9 to stick around.
For the most part I worked the line, gathering signatures for I-178 to legalize and tax marijuana in Montana.
I took that opportunity to talk with people and figure out what they think.
- I was surprised to learn that one woman drove down from Whitefish at 6 AM to see Bernie Sanders.
- Another woman drove down from the Flathead area and slept in her car in a parking lot to see Bernie.
- Lots of people came from Flathead and Lake counties, and I know this because I was asking people if they were in Missoula County for signature gathering purposes.
- Many came from Lewis and Clark, many from Ravalli. There were some from Cascade County, others from Gallatin.
I was very surprised by how many showed up. KPAX did a good job discussing this and already by 3 PM the Missoulian was telling us that “a diverse crowd of several thousand showed up.”
Yes, it was quite the day…just not for Hillary fans.
As I said to many in line, and as Bernie himself mentioned when he took the stage around 1 PM, the corporate media wanted you to believe months ago that this race was wrapped up, that Hillary had it in the bag.
This map from the New York Times the day Trump was declared the presumptive nominee is a good example of that:
We’re spoon-fed over and over again how it’s going to be Hillary and Trump…and just forget about Bernie, you sad sorry sons a’ bitches.
That’s the attitude Bernie supporters get – shut the hell up already and get in your place, which is in line for Hillary and don’t make a fuss about, damn it.
Alas, people keep voting for Bernie.
Now in Montana we’ll get our chance to vote for Bernie, and in just 26 days.
Hell, I bet a lot of people already are voting for him as absentee ballots began going out this week.
And let’s face it – no one is going to do better in November than Bernie.
Here, take a look at the main reason why: Independent voters:
I think a big reason so many young people especially are supporting Bernie is because they know how hopeless the current system is for them.
To me, that’s told quite well in this Facebook comment I came across:
A lot of it actually is a generational divide, with older Democrats backing Hillary and younger Democrats going for Bernie.
As you can see in that comment, however, the world’s just not the same place it was when mom and pop were going ‘clean for Gene’ or even sayin’ it’s ‘not just peanuts’ for ol' Jimmy.
No, that world is long gone. Back then young people weren’t burdened with tens of thousands in debt.
Hillary doesn’t much care about the idea of free college – despite most of the world giving it – because she knows the federal government needs to keep it’s lockstep on the states through the educational grants they can use like the carrot and the stick that they’ve become.
Students don’t matter to Hillary, anymore than women or gays or blacks or any other group that you think needs more representation and a fairer hand than they’re being dealt now.
No, Hillary works for the neocons and the corporate elite. It’s why so many don’t have any qualms about not backing Trump – Hillary is just as good for the elite as any establishment GOP candidate on the horizon.
The establishment loves Hillary, as does the 1%.
Her policies will do nothing to help Montana, just keep our current problems right where they are – on our doorstep with no solution in place and their mere presence an enrichment for the rich man and his lawyerly class.
My God, we need Bernie Sanders for president and we need him bad.
He’s offering that old FDR, New Deal promise that helped this country get back on its feet after our last depression.
Now nearly 8 years into our second, we need some kind of New Deal-style stimulus, or for God’s sake, just some shovel-ready jobs that might not even be ready for another year.
We need help!
Instead of offering it however, Hillary buys our Montana super delegates for the street-corner prices of $64,100.
Look at us, just look at us.
What happened to Montana Democrats?
We’re supposed to be helping the people that can’t help themselves and yet we’re doing nothing more than trying to get as much as we can for ourselves.
It makes me sick, quite frankly, it just makes me sick.
I don’t know what to do about it but I know Bernie is talking about it, and that when no one else is.
So I went downtown to Caras Park in Missoula today, and boy, I’m glad I did.
The May 11 Missoula Bernie Sanders Rally
Parking for the event was of course a nightmare, as was profiled yesterday.
The Missoula City Police were working with the Secret Service and a lot of areas were closed and fenced-off.
I decided to park at my old apartment on south Second Street west, which meant I just had to walk across the Orange Street Bridge and then a bit down front street to Caras Park.
I arrived at the park around 8 AM and already there were about 100 people standing in line.
I know you want full coverage, so I took more than 50 images of the venue…both before and during.
Please, use these images freely if you need them for your own Bernie post.
Yes, clearly if people are arriving nearly 4 hours early, then Missoula is excited.
It’s not like Missoula hasn’t turned out for presidential candidates before, however.
Here are two images of Teddy Roosevelt in Missoula, in 1911 and again in 1912.
So we’ve seen some crowds…but gosh, today was something:
I stuck around down by the bathrooms, where they were doing the security checks, until around 9:30 when I began moving about.
As you can see, lots of people started coming downtown via the Orange Street Bridge.
Gosh, I thought the line for one of Michael Moore's films around the Wilma a few years ago was long.
I’ve never seen anything like today, however.
There were lots of people selling Bernie shirts and hats and buttons. Hats were $30, I heard from one woman.
One guy had a 2nd Amendment sign and was working the line passing out his cards. I found it odd that a typically right-wing agenda has to show up at a liberal event to get any attention.
I even found a cool girl with a sign that I thought said a lot.
Outside the Bernie Rally
Once that happened, most of the people in line up to Orange Street started to head down to stand outside the venue.
It was packed!
Inside the Bernie Rally
I also had to leave my backpack and make sure my pockets didn’t have much in ‘em.
Then I scooted through security and walked around inside.
Boy, there was still a lot of room on the grassy hill, though you couldn’t see the stage from there.
Most people chose to stay outside by that point, as you could hear and they had a giant TV screen set up.
I managed to pick up 23 sheets of signatures to legalize marijuana.
That means more than 230 people signed today…and that’s not even counting the dozen signatures I got for Flathead, Lake, and a few other places.
Yes, it was a good day.
It was a good day for hope.
Lots of people today came down to listen to Bernie Sanders tell us about our problems.
- He talked about old people not being able to get by on fixed income, veterans not getting by on what the government is giving them, and students not getting by with all the debt they have.
- He talked about offering a living wage, not a poverty wage, for people working 40 hours a week.
- He talked about expanding Social Security benefits, not cutting them.
- Most of all, he talked about making this country work again for its people, not the billionaire class that’s currently running things.
My God, Missoula needed to hear it today.
I will continue to talk about Bernie Sanders and I’ll continue to urge you to vote for him.
I’ll do that until the last ballot is cast and counted at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on the night of Thursday, July 28.
It might be a late night, and there could be a lot of backroom dealings.
Here in Montana, I’ll keep writing about it because I simply don’t know what else to do.
I have a good audience and quite a few people from across the state, as you can see in that map above.
People are hungry for a new way of doing things and a new way of talking about the issues.
Bernie is talking about them and I’ll be voting for him on June 7.
Please do the same.