Embrace The Bern: Why Idealists Should Vote For Bernie Sanders

The cold air caressed our skin outside of Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, AL but we didn’t care. My anticipation of what was to come and the promise of the night made me forget I couldn’t feel my fingers.

Suddenly the doors opened and the crowd began to pour in slowly and then rapidly.

We held our Bernie Sanders 2016 signs with pride and acknowledged every passerby with a knowing smile. It was as if we all shared a well-kept secret.

We entered the auditorium with a communal 360 turn to fully comprehend how large the space was. In that moment a wave of anxiousness fell over me.

It would be terribly inaccurate to say that Alabama was a welcoming political atmosphere for those on the left.

With that being said, my optimism wavered in that moment to see if we would actually fill the rallying space or be left with disappointment that we were alone in a highly conservative state.

We ceased to be silent leading up to Sen. Sanders’s speech at the podium. Every yell and expressive head nod fed the flames of the masses. Before we knew it the empty space that greeted us was no more. Every seat was filled and on the floor we stood shoulder to shoulder.

Regardless of my senses being overwhelmed by my first political rally, something strange was occurring inside of me. The energy of the room began to pulsate through my body.

Regardless of my senses being overwhelmed by my first political rally, something strange was occurring inside of me. The energy of the room began to pulsate through my body.

Each speaker that came to introduce the presidential candidate spoke with eloquence and reiterated the phrase “political revolution.”

Those words appeared to flicker hope in all of us that things could be different if we stood as one.

Our restless hearts were pushed to the brink until finally the man we had been waiting for appeared from behind the curtains.

His thick Brooklyn accent was just like what we had heard the night prior on our televisions at the Democratic Debate. Smiles emerged on our faces each time we recognized his infamous one finger power point and subtle mannerisms.

The things he spoke on were issues that immediately struck chords in the audience. One rally attendee would shout in praise which would be reciprocated by all the rally attendees shouting with higher intensity.

Through his speech I kept contemplating the idea of what our nation could be. How we could grow and flourish if only the people really knew how much power they held.

Ashley Perry (R) at the Bernie Sanders rally in Birmingham, AL on Jan. 19, 2016. Photo Credit: Ashley Perry.

Ashley Perry (R) at the Bernie Sanders rally in Birmingham, AL on Jan. 19, 2016. Photo Credit: Ashley Perry.

At times I became emotional at the hot topics and the solutions he proposed. The idea of free health care and breaking up major institutions like prescription drug companies impacted me heavily.

If this man became president it would be possible that my mother and brother would no longer have to struggle to pay for the drugs that keep their pain from auto immune diseases to a minimum.

The concept of focusing on education and making it accessible to all brought tears to my eyes knowing my father never graduated from high school because of a lack of support and financial means. Sanders could make a difference so that youth in poverty don’t have to endure the struggles my father faced.

By the end of the rally, I felt a sense of enlightenment after the candidate delved into a number of thought-provoking ideas. I began wishing that all my peers could experience the power of political change.

Throughout history, proactive youths have changed governments and set new standards just by coming together as one. The things we could accomplish if we decided to care fluttered in my heart and mind.

Despite the labels of conservative or liberal, our generation holds so much influence on the world around us.

Only time will tell how the upcoming elections will pan out but the true statement of political revolution will lie in how we as young people come together to make a difference.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Bernie Sanders for President Campaign/ Facebook

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About the Author
"Ashley Perry is a senior at the University of Alabama studying Social Work and Spanish. She has interned at the Department of Defense's Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and plans to continue her studies in Human Rights at the University College of Dublin in Dublin, Ireland."

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