15K Gather at Safeco Field With a Common Purpose: To Feel the Bern


Natalie Svinth

Reporter, Natalie Svinth, recalls her experience at the Bernie Sanders Rally.

Natalie Svinth, Reporter

Last Friday, March 25th, I made the pilgrimage to Bremerton to catch the ferry to Seattle, took a bike taxi to Safeco field, and stood in line for three hours to hear Bernie Sanders speak to the 99%. Cloaked by the rare rays of Seattle sunshine, the magic of each moment was illuminated. People were saying to each other, “Welcome to history.” Some passed out free Bernie t-shirts while others distributed newspapers about communism. The air was dense with excitement.

We finally got into the stadium at 5:00. Bernie was supposed to come on at 7:00, so in the meantime, various bands and speakers spread their messages. Tacocat, a feminist punk band from Tacoma, screamed about menstruation. Kshama Sawant, the socialist councilwoman of Seattle who fought tooth and nail to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, impassioned the crowd with chants of “When we fight, we win!” Ending her speech with the words “in solidarity,” she sent shivers down a collective spine.

There is a feeling of community that can only be experienced when you are part of a crowd of 15,000 people and know that everyone else there shares your same foundation of beliefs. We were not gathered on a basis of fear or hate; we were gathered heavy with hope for a new kind of future. We are part of a movement, part of a revolution, all revolving around the inclusive messages fostered by the one and only Senator Sanders. All eye contact made with strangers ended in smiles.

Handmade signs were waved fervently, painted with messages like “99% Love,” “Not Me, Us,” and “Bernie Sandwiches: We all need a hero.” Snippets of conversation about an immense love for what is happening were overheard; as one woman sitting behind me put it, “I am a raging lesbian, but all Bernie would have to do is whisper in my ear ‘Let’s take down the 1%,’ and I would totally make-out with him.”

Seven o’clock came and went, and the crowd was starting to grow anxious. Everyone wanted to hear Sanders’s message, to see the man who was stirring up so much dialogue. He was supposed to be here, we had all waited so long–so where was he? Word began to circulate that Sanders was waiting for every single person who was still in line outside to come in and be seated; all who wanted to take part would be able to. Just like the nature of the campaign he is running, no one was left behind.

Finally, in all his wild, white-haired glory, Sanders walked out onto the field to the tune of the roaring crowd. The Vermont Senator addressed women, minority groups, and the working class. He didn’t attempt to speak for the groups he wasn’t a part of; instead, he repeated what these groups were telling him. He firmly expressed his beliefs that universal health care and access to a college degree are human rights. The central theme of the speech was his determination to take big business out of politics, to give the country back to the people instead of allowing it to rest in the hands of the billionaire class. Each sentence uttered by Sanders spawned louder cries of agreement.

Charged by the passion of the night before, I woke up the next morning and went to the nearest democratic caucus to cast my vote for the only potential president that I believe represents the voice of the people instead of the top 1%. Many long-time caucus goers commented on the unprecedented turnout of young voters–all, of course, there to support Sanders. Friends were made and ideas were shared, and, on a local level, the energy from the night before continued to reign.

The only thing that could make the events of the two days any better was hearing the news of Sanders winning Washington State by 72.7%, and knowing I played a little part in a burning revolution.

Image of Crowd Filling Up SafeCo Field for Bernie Rally
Natalie Svinth
Image of Crowd Filling Up SafeCo Field for Bernie Rally