Feeling the Bern in Vallejo, CA
A few days ago I got the word that Bernie Sanders was coming to Vallejo! For those of you who don't know, Vallejo is a town about a half hour south of Napa, where I live. I was born in Vallejo and lived there for the first nine years of my life. At one time Vallejo was a booming middle class town supported by Mare Island Shipyard, reserved for military use just two months after California became a state in 1850. For over a century, Mare Island was used by the Navy, and in its latter years was a training base for Marines.
By the time I was a child, Vallejo was already changing with a growing low-income population, and in the early 1990's, when Mare Island was closed, things got worse for this town which eventually went bankrupt.
Today there are still many problems but there has been a resurgence of the arts and a new influx of people looking for affordable housing near San Francisco. Vallejo has a fantastic waterfront with a very busy ferry service which I happen to use when traveling to San Francisco.
So when I heard that Bernie was coming to Vallejo, I was excited for the chance to see a presidential candidate speak in person AND to see that he was supporting this little town that could. There are many outstanding citizens living in Vallejo, including several members of my family! I'll always have a place in my heart for this town.
The night before the rally, I started to get cold feet - thousands of people? Would there be parking? Impossible traffic? And most importantly, what about bathrooms??? Being the mom of two teenagers though, helps to keep me young. They insisted that we go and not miss this incredible opportunity.
So my daughter made us sandwiches and painted "BERNIE" on my arm with eyeliner and we headed out. Long story short, it was run beautifully! Parking was easy, getting there was easy, everything was organized and there were more than enough CLEAN port a potties with sinks to wash your hands. (whew!)
But the main take-away was the re-energizing I got from this rally. I've always been very patriotic and involved in my community and politics. I have to admit that this presidential race had really gotten me down. I was feeling discouraged for so many reasons, that I doubt I need to explain because you probably totally understand.
Gathering with so many like-minded people, cheering, supporting each other, and then listening to Bernie Sanders speak was just the prescription for me! I realized that his values are mine too. And whether or not he gets the nomination or becomes the president even, someone out there is caring about the people and issues that I care about.
That felt really great. Find your inspiration where you can. It's worth the risk and effort!