by Jessica Resendez
I don’t want to admit this, but I haven’t always been a Bernie Sanders fan. In fact, as a registered Democrat and Latina, I’m not too sure I’m fully convinced even now. But on March 22, 2016, I joined thousands of Bernie supporters at the San Diego convention center to see if the Bern-man couldn’t change my mind to suit the “Feel the Bern” phenomena that has swept away many of my UCI peers.
Here’s the thing: I like the idea of free health care, free tuition and immigration reform, but is Bernie really going to follow through with what he is promising, or is he just another typical politician trying to swindle my vote? That’s what I intended to find out that Tuesday afternoon, and what I encountered was a whole lot of pumped-up millennials and old-school hippies ready to give a big middle finger to Trump, Hillary and the rest of corporate-owned America.
Inside, I joined my group of friends next to a giant Jumbotron that kept tuning in and out of CNN with live updates of the Arizona primaries. An update flashed on screen, reading “Trump Wins Arizona GOP Primary,” and the floor beneath me began to tremble with dramatic intensity. This wasn’t the average California earthquake, but it certainly felt like one as the crowd roared with their loudest “Boos!”, shaking their angry fists toward the giant screen. One man next to me even shouted, “Fuck you, Trump!”, as if he had personally been insulted by the flashing images of the Republican front-runner.
The crowd grew even more heated when it was announced that Clinton had won the Democratic vote in the same state. Yet another round of intensified “Boos!” filled the air as someone else shouted, “Fucking rigged!” I was now in the middle of a full-on Sanders outrage. This was not the time to mention to anyone that I was secretly considering voting for Clinton, so I kept my mouth shut.
Who could calm this infuriated crowd and keep the Bernie faith alive? None other than Hollywood star Rosario Dawson, of course. Perhaps you know her from shows like “Daredevil” or remember her acting alongside Will Smith in “7 Pounds.” Well, tonight, she was talking about Bernie as a representative of “bold leadership” in America.
As I looked around the room of over 9,000 people (not including the overflow room), I suddenly felt like I was taking part in something historical — something I could tell my grandchildren that I took part in years from now.
“You’re here because you’re talking to each other,” Dawson’s voice reverberated. It was true; I was here because of talk. I had heard my classmates talk, my friends talk, my professors talk and my parents talk. Talk, talk, talk — and now I found myself standing in the middle of a Bernie Sanders rally waiting for more talk — the kind of talk that would inspire me to vote for the right candidate.
Finally, the time had come. Dawson introduced the man of the hour, and she stood back and joined her two hands together to form a heart-shaped signal in the air — a signal of love. The crowd screamed out in excitement, chanting: “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” as everyone raised their blue Bernie 2016 signs in the air. “A future to believe in” is what they all had read, and I had to admit I was starting to feel the temperature rise in my Bern-ometer.
His talk about “political revolution” against the rigged economy, the broken justice system and the “billionaires sending unlimited amounts of money to other candidates” left me feeling inspired at times, but there were also times where I felt he could have elaborated more — especially regarding his plans to “crush ISIS.”
I appreciated his response to immigration reform by touching on plans to create paths toward citizenship and utilizing his “executive powers of presidency” to combat deportation issues amongst the knuckleheads running the show in Congress. My fellow Latinos were definitely feeling the Bern, but was I?
“Si, se puede!” — or “Yes, we can!” — shouted the Latinos in the crowd.
In the end, I left feeling more convinced than I had originally anticipated. Sure, his ideas sounded kind of far-fetched, but perhaps it’s not the promise of a perfect world he is trying to accomplish here. Perhaps he is simply trying to rattle the cages against those in power. I mean, at least he made an effort to come out and try to get my vote. Hillary, on the other hand, is only visiting Los Angeles once this month, and is charging thousands of dollars just to hear what she has to say. I’m not sure any candidate will be the perfect person up for the challenge of presidency, but I guess I’d rather have someone fight against the status quo of a corrupted system than lean on it.