Always great to see a fellow folding bike lover.
As for the heavily debated question of Bernie’s demographics, I have to admit that the rally in Queens was mostly white NYC hipsters in their 20s and 30s, pretty much what you’d expect. The 9 or 10 pro-Trump counter protesters protected by a wall of NYPD were all Boomers. Something about them just said “old and angry, selfish and racist.”
But back to Bernie’s demographics. While the majority of the crowd was made up of white, probably college-educated hipsters in their 20s and 30s — and I always love feeling old at a political event — it was also incredibly diverse. There were black people, Hispanics, orthodox Jews, very many gays and lesbians, transgender people, Asians, immigrants, just about everybody. It was a cross section of New York City, which is, sadly, becoming more and more white as it becomes more and more gentrified.
Do you want more black and Hispanic people, and more working class people in general, at political rallies in New York City? The solution is easy. Build more public housing. Enforce rent control. Pass a stiff tax on oligarchs of all races and nationalities who buy expensive housing in Manhattan as an investment (a way to launder money) and let it sit empty.
The content of the rally was forcefully anti-racist. Jane Sanders implicitly compared the genocide of the Irish in 1847 to the genocide of Eastern European Jews in the 1940s. A lot of right wing Zionists won’t like that, but it’s true. The Holocaust wasn’t a one off event. It was the culmination of European imperialism and white supremacy. Bernie also had three women of color on stage for long periods of time, Tiffany Caban, the gay, Latinx woman who almost took the Queens DA spot away from the Cuomo machine, Nina Turner, his long time spokes women, who has a very African American style, and who quoted LL Cool J in a way that got even me to appreciate rap music, and of course AOC, the young Puerto Rican woman who’s become one of the most important members of Congress in her first term.
Most importantly of all, Bernie denounced racism, white supremacy, and anti-immigrant bigotry over and over again. He denounced killer cops. He praised black lives matter. He denounced Trump’s ban on Muslims and persecution of immigrants. He said that it’s just as important to stand up for your neighbor as it is for yourself.
It’s worth comparing Bernie’s words to the words of right-wing Republican, white Supremacist Steve King of Iowa. For Steve King, we’re not supposed to care about “other peoples’ babies.” If someone doesn’t look like us or pray to the same God, fuck them.
“You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies. You’ve got to keep your birth rate up, and that you need to teach your children your values,” King said, paraphrasing remarks he said he’s delivered to audiences in Europe. “In doing so, you can grow your population, you can strengthen your culture, and you can strengthen your way of life.”
For Bernie, on the other hand, “other peoples’ babies” are exactly the people we need to care about. The basis of civilization is supporting the person next to us, our neighbors. The reason the USA is in so much trouble right now is our selfishness, our individualism. This is exactly why I’m a leftist and not a conservative.