Berning in the woods

A week from last Saturday was the big kick off push for Bernie Sanders campaign volunteers. There were nearly five thousand gatherings across the country, many that congregated in living rooms and around kitchen tables and private homes, across the fruited plains. There were several in my area and since I wanted to get a pulse on how the campaign was going, I attended three of them.

The first kick off party was at noon in Santa Cruz in the city, so I drove down for the event, where something like 50+ folks were bernin’. There was a video, where Bernie and his campaign have some prep talks then introduced an app that volunteers can use to collect information from voters as to what issues they are concerned about.

I left a little early from that kick off and drive back up to the Santa Cruz Mountains to attend a Bernie event in Boulder Creek. That was a good time because I met up with some comrades from our local mountains DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) branch, and we made a few good contacts with Bernie supporters interested in joining our DSA branch.

Walking to my car, after the meeting, I saw this, to give you an idea of the kind of thing that people in the redwood mountains do for fun:

Tree house in Boulder Creek California 2019

The last kick off party was even father out in the sticks, requiring that I navigate some gnarly twists and turns as the roads wrapped around the mountains with hairpin turns that wound their way up and down steep hills. It was on this ride that I realized the great gift of driving a compact car small enough to handle like a go-cart. My Fiat 500 made it a breeze to get out to the meeting in the boon docks of Bonnie Doon, hosted by someone named Bonnie, no less.

The lil Fiat 500. Kind of looks like a roller skate when positioned next to a Redwood.

The weird thing, though, was that when I had finally worked my way though the twisty turns off the mountains, I arrived at the destination, which turned out to be a really big, super nice house. It made me curious but a little uncomfortable. Here I was at a Bernie kick off party, and we were hanging with the 1%.

Then I started taking to this guy and I felt quite at ease, especially when he started showing off his Bernie tatt:

It turned out to be a good meeting, hosted by an older couple who were well of but quite enthusiastic Bernie supporters. In fact Bonnie, herself, our host, gave a long Bernie-esque speech hitting all the main points that Bernie himself talks about.

Hitting up three kick off parties was a bit much for me, socially — being of the introverted species of humankind — but since I was coming off tax season I appreciated the luxury of being able to just spend a Saturday kicking it with the Berners. And it was encouraging to see how many Bernie enthusiasts showed up at the volunteer kick off parties.

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

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Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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