We followed Bernie down Mission Street like he was the Pied Piper and we were the lost children of San Francisco. His words and convictions were the music we’d waited for. They played in the key of fighting the good fight. Their syncopation made us believe a better future was possible. Sen. Bernie Sanders could’ve led us pretty much anywhere, and we would’ve followed. But there were bigger things afoot, and after a few blocks, he hopped in an SUV and was swept away.
So much of the last year had built up to this. From debates to caucuses to primaries, it was finally upon us. California would have its say, and according to all the news sources, ours was the most important voice so far in the race. And here he was, in the Mission, shaking hands and literally kissing babies. It was a hell of a thing to be in the presence of someone you argued on behalf of for so many months.
Monday evening was set to be a huge get-out-the-vote concert for Sen. Sanders at Crissy Field. Musicians like Dave Matthews and Fishbone were scheduled to play; speakers like Cornell West and Danny Glover were going to do their thing. And it would all be capped off with a speech from Bernie himself.
I was about to walk out the door to head over when I saw Tom Temprano (who’s running for City College Board) post that Bernie was going to be at 24th and Mission in a half hour. I hopped in a cab and zoomed over.
It’s not often you get the opportunity to meet a man whom you so greatly admire.
When I arrived, there were a few other people looking around trying to figure out where Sanders was. After walking a bit and then heading back to BART, people suddenly started darting over toward 25th Street.
The Senator had arrived.
Secret Service kept us against the buildings while Bernie walked down the line, shaking hands. I reached out and shook his; it was remarkably soft. People thrust out their babies, and he kissed their cute little heads. And then as Bernie continued down the line, we all fell in step behind him, going … well, we didn’t know where. But goddamn, we were walking down Mission Street with Bernie Sanders!
And then — poof! — he was in a vehicle, and his motorcade moved on to wherever candidates go after they make your heart flutter.
An exuberant dozen and a half of us headed to Rosamunde to chase our Bernie Sanders excitement with sausages. Supervisor David Campos was there, as was Hillary Ronen (running for supervisor in D9), Temprano, Dean Preston (running for supervisor in D5), Nate Allbee (political consultant for nearly everyone there), and many more of San Francisco’s Progressive vanguard. We’d all just met our hero and we sat around showing the photos we took and the telling the stories of how Bernie had done this thing or that thing and what it all meant.
At that point, I wasn’t sure I was going to go to the concert. I mean, seeing him speak in front of tens of thousands of people loses its luster a little when you’ve just met the man. But I finally decided to head over to Crissy Field and I’m glad I did. Being surrounded by so many people who also believe that a political revolution is upon us, and that we can change things for the better, is an incredible feeling. In fact, it feels like hope.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the San Francisco Examiner.Bernie SandersBroke Ass CityBroke-Ass StuartCornell WestCrissy FieldDanny GloverelectionMissionSan FranciscoStuart Schuffman