On Monday, July 6, Bernie Sanders was to speak at 7 P.M. Jean and I arrived three hours ahead of time to beat the crowd. Turned out that there was no way to beat the crowd. Sanders supporters were everywhere. There were the young, the middle aged, and the old in equal numbers. There were the well dressed and the nonconformists; the bearded and the shaved; the horn-rimmed and the tattooed. There were an equal number of men and women.
When the doors finally opened, a diverse group of an estimated 8,000 people filled the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Maine. It was immediately clear that something special was happening. It was something that the gaggle of other presidential wannabes from Hillary to Jeb, from Donald to Bobbie could only fake.
This was the real thing.
A recent interview between Bernie and Bill Maher went something like this:
"You're a rock star," said Maher.
"We had 10,000 people in Wisconsin, I was surprised," Bernie replied.
"How do you account for this?"
"Well," said Bernie, "we so what no other candidate in the history of politics has ever done."
"Tell the truth."
The TV audience laughed at Bernie's sense of humor. He smiled. Turns out that he wasn't joking.
The energy at the arena in Portland was tangible. You could feel it. You could almost taste it. It was Walt Whitman's body electric coming alive:
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