Vet Snags Front Row Seat and Selfie at Ohio Rally
My guest today is dog groomer and Ohio resident Lauren Violet-Marie Jeffrie.
JB: Welcome to OpEdNews, Lauren. You recently attended the Sanders rally in Columbus. Why did you decide to go?
LJ: Hi! I was actually only able to make the rally by sheer chance. As a groomer, I work every weekend and I had just gotten the notice about the rally only two days prior. But there was a gas leak at work so it was abruptly cancelled. I dedicated my whole day to the rally. I have been a strong supporter of Bernie's for about a year now. And I recently started volunteering at the Columbus campaign office downtown and I've donated $15 to his campaign four different times. So, there was no way I was going to pass the opportunity up to see Bernie!
JB: Serendipity at work, literally! Attending a rally isn't a matter of simple logistics. At least it wasn't for you. Tell us how you went about this and what your goal was, please.
LJ: I know! I felt like it was destiny that I be there, when my manager texted me the news of the leak. I was so excited to be able to go! I had planned to get there super early, I knew doors opened at 3:30 but I've seen the lines at his rallies on Facebook so there was no way I was gonna let myself NOT get in. I only live 20 minutes away, so I got there at 10:30 am and there were about 20 people in line already. But my ultimate goal was to either shake his hand or at least get a selfie. So, when I saw there were only 20 people in front of me, I knew I had a great chance of being close enough for either.
JB: I haven't been to any rallies and I don't spend much time on Facebook, so you can be our eyes and ears. Are the rallies usually pretty crowded? Are we talking specifically about Ohio, elsewhere, or what?
LJ: This was my first rally I have ever attended in my life, for any politician. I was only familiar with what I've seen on Facebook as far as the crowds so I braced myself for thousands of people. When I got there, I took a picture of myself in line with the empty parking lot that was taped off, knowing hours later it would be totally filled and sure enough, it was! I had brought with me a bag with a bottle of water and some fruit snacks and an umbrella since it was raining but when I got there, they said weren't allowed to bring in umbrellas, outside food or snack, or bags, so I scarfed it all down and put everything else back in the car before anyone else got in line. I also came by myself, so I had no-one to save my spot for me, which is why I was never able to go get anything else to eat or drink after 11 am.
JB: That's so interesting. You're no political junkie; in fact, it sounds like you're pretty new to all this. You just got hooked by Bernie. And you stood outside for eight hours in the rain in order to claim a good seat at the rally. That's pretty extreme, no? What about him spoke to you in the first place?
LJ: Well, first let me clarify: I stood in the rain for five hours; then, when the doors opened, I ran down to the floor where the stage was and claimed my spot right in front of the podium. I had to stand there for the next three hours because if I moved for any reason (food or water) there was no getting the spot back. So I watched everyone else in the bleachers eat nachos, drooling, but it was worth it!
I think what made me pay more attention to politics was a combination of having a daughter, the hatred Trump was spreading and police brutality. My 1-1/2 year old daughter is bi-racial, my husband is African American. I'm a six-year army veteran and he currently is still serving. So, when I saw Trump bringing racists out of the woodwork again, so to speak, I got scared. I am genuinely scared for my family's well being. What would America be like for my daughter with a president like Trump? Will my husband survive a routine traffic stop these days? I was looking for a candidate that was going to bring our country back together and that's what I saw in Bernie, a genuine, honest person who was bringing every kind of race together again.
JB: We've become pretty cynical as a nation after being continually flooded with candidates who promise one thing and once in office do something else altogether. Why aren't you skeptical about Bernie?
LJ: I think I'm not as skeptical about Bernie because of his record. He has been fighting for equality his entire life. I have yet to see sufficient evidence of him ever wavering on what he believes in. In contrast to Hillary, whose stance changes, I feel like, based on her audience. If Bernie was just "saying what the people want to hear" don't you think his message would have changed over time? But it hasn't and that impresses me. That alone instills trust in him for me. Also, I already see it happening, at his rallies and even our campaign office, there is representation from every kind of race or walk of life whether it's old, young, poor, rich, black, or white. So, he is already accomplishing what i was looking for, unity as a country and he isn't even the president yet. That alone speaks volumes.
JB: You're a working person, a vet, a mom, a wife. What do your various circles seem to be saying, politics-wise? Are you and your support for Bernie an outlier?