On April 17, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, after a wildly successful rally in Washington Square Park and speaking in the Vatican, continued his pursuit towards the New York primary in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, where he grew up. There, over 20,000 people gathered to hear him speak.
The rally had introductions by Sanders supports, such as musical artist Grizzly Bear, Hawaii congressional Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, and actors Justin Long and Danny DeVito, who personally introduced Sanders as “our Obi-Wan.” All the speakers reflected the idea of radical change in the nation, with connections back to the abolishment movement, and the fight for women’s suffrage and to end segregation, referred to as other “moonshots” by Williams. In particular, Williams spoke about critics saying Sanders is at “war with reality”, in which is commented that “reality” is plagued with racism, sexism, poverty, and starvation – the things that Sanders has vowed to fight.
Sanders took center stage for an hour long talk, in which he highlighted his major campaign points of energy and environmental reform, education reform, healthcare and mental health reform, drug reform, and infrastructure reform. Notably, he compared his ideas to both his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton, and Republican frontrunner Donald Drumpf. He spoke about Clinton’s past decisions and their impacts today, such as her vote for the Iraq War, her actions as Secretary of State in the Middle East, and her comments on campaign finance reform, despite having a SuperPac and getting massive donations from millionaire Americans. He also condemned Drumpf’s rhetoric on race, sex, religion and about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, closing his argument, “The lesson of every major religion on Earth… at the end of the day, love trumps hatred.”
As someone who personally was able experience this rally, it was a truly remarkable and awe-inspiring event from start to finish. It was remarkable to be able to listen to a political candidate live, without others cutting them off and to witness it without the glamorization by the media. Also noteworthy was the atmosphere of the crowd, which was filled with energy and a positive outlook. As a politically conscious citizen, I can only recommend enough to attend rallies if given the opportunity, especially during this high-stakes election.