I was standing in the back near See’s Candy to watch the senator’s speech, and when the activists stormed the podium I went down to the gate where people were being let in and out of the organizers’ tent; I wanted to be able to grab my sister out of there if things got ugly.
I don’t have much time to post, so I will say this about the whole deal. The event was not a Bernie Sanders campaign stop, it was a social security rally that had been planned beforehand; the senator was a later addition to the agenda. But from the beginning of the event, people saw it as a campaign event, and people in the crowd were demanding to see the senator from the beginning of the event. Get off the stage! Put Bernie on!
From where I stood, it was hard to hear the speakers and understand what was going on. It was clear to me that most of the people shouting at the activists were bitterly disappointed that they didn’t get to hear the senator speak, that it ruined their whole day. Also, it was clear to me that people didn’t know what was going on. They couldn’t see that most of the organizers in the tent were on board with the #blacklivesmatter activists. They didn’t see senator Sanders listening to and occasionally applauding the activists, as he went into “wait and see” mode. I saw people yelling the bike cops to come in and handle the situation, and I saw the cops look back at the crowd as if they were insane.
So to review: The crowd was surly from the beginning. They were disappointed not to see what they were expecting to see. They couldn’t hear clearly and didn’t really understand the situation.
What they did understand was that this was a huge disruption and was a slap in the face to the national face of liberalism.
My personal thoughts: it is a crisis of morality and our consititution that people are getting killed in the street in the name of law enforcement, or while in custody. The fact that it’s usually African Americans is a national emergency. This is not a back burner issue, we can’t ask African Americans to keep dying while we prioritize… what… legislative battles?
Bernie Sanders survived yesterday as did all of his supporters. They lived. They are ok. Maybe they are not becoming #blacklivesmatter allies anytime soon; but black folks continue to die in the country and that is a higher priority to me than courtesy and decorum.