A packed house cheered for Senator Bernie Sanders during a presidential campaign rally at the Scranton Cultural Center last Thursday.
Doors opened at 10 a.m. and the rally started at noon, but a few dedicated Sanders supporters began to line up around 4:30 a.m. They wore handmade T-shirts each with a single letter to spelled out “Sanders!”
While waiting for the rally to begin, volunteers handed out signs that read “A Future To Believe In,” which is the Sanders’s campaign slogan. The fine print on the signs read “paid for by Bernie 2016 (not the billionaires).”
After a long wait for many in line, the rally began with speeches by a few locals, including the mayor of Old Forge, a neighboring town. When Senator Sanders finally walked onstage, the crowd jumped to their feet and erupted with cheers and applause.
A few joyful tears rolled down my cheeks when I saw him. I was overwhelmed with everything Sanders stood for and what his campaign represents: a future America with equality on all levels. I looked around the room and noticed that I was not the only audience member tearing up. The crowd of about 2,000 was welcoming and energetic, chanting with each other while waiting in line and in the theater.
The crowd yelled interjections and cheered throughout Sanders’s speech, but Sanders did not ignore the interjections. Instead, he interacted with the crowd’s outbursts. He would say something along the lines of: “I agree with that, too” whenever someone yelled about wages being too low or other issues that outraged us as a nation.
“Save the honeybees!” was the only outburst Sanders did not acknowledge while he was speaking about climate change, but it was by far the funniest outburst.
Sanders spoke about his plans to raise minimum wage to $15 and hour, offer free college education and take care of the environment. These plans will make living in America easier and less stressful because we will not have to worry about struggling to pay bills, graduating thousands of dollars in debt or increasing our carbon footprint.
“Are these ideas radical?” Sanders asked a few times throughout his speech, in reference to his opponents’ argument that he is too radical. “No!” the crowd answered back. The crowd seemed to cheer loudest when Sanders said he is against fracking and when he mentioned how far America has come with gaining marriage equality.
Seeing so many people in one place who share the same views as I do was uplifting. It instilled faith in me that we as a country can find our way to equality.
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