Opinion: Witnessing a legend

Dylan Webb is a teaching English as a second language major. Contact him at [email protected].

Dylan Webb

Here I was, waiting in a formidable, 2,000-person line to see the living legend himself, Bernie Sanders at Legacy Democratic Dinner in Columbus.  I had come down with OSA (Ohio Student Association) outside the event to protest political corruption, and the fact that corporate super PACs can buy out enough candidates to have a death grip on American politics. With blessed fortune, I was able to make it right on time to see Bernie as he was speaking. I was wearing the rainbow shirt I got at the Further concert surrounded by people dressed in brand-name suits and dresses.

As I made my way through the crowd with fate pushing me forward passing me through thousands of people, I finally got to security. I was quickly questioned on a bag of stones I carry around containing a white rock from my childhood home, one from Jerusalem and a stone with an angel inside, clearly objects that have a physical reminder of my faith. Quickly, a seven-foot Secret Service agent in a bulletproof vest said that these pebbles could be used to hurt someone. I was stunned; it wasn’t a forgotten pocket knife or stun gun I was stopped for, but tiny pebbles. Unless I had the superhuman ability to throw a little stone over one thousand feet with flawless aim, no one could be hurt with my dime-sized rocks. How paranoid were these people that were wasting time with imaginary threats as they kept the thousands of people behind me from seeing their political heroes?

I wasn’t going to debate with the Secret Service no matter how ludicrous their policies were, some laws aren’t written with logic in mind. I found my team as soon as I came out of the convention center, throwing any “questionable“ objects in the car and explained the situation. The group thankfully agreed to wait for me to see Bernie, everything fitting together like clockwork in guided synchronicity.

Another round waiting in the line was not as smooth as before:  We were frozen in line for hours, standing in the claustrophobic crowd of heat. Then a Hillary Clinton supporter chatted with me and said, “When the system’s this much of a mess, we all lose.” We nodded in resigned agreement knowing the speakers were passing through on the stage while we were standing, getting frustrated in the line. Many of us were volunteers, students, dedicated activists and felt as if we wouldn’t get to see the people we’ve been waiting, driving for, hoping for hours, even days to see.  The metal detector alarms blared throughout the convention center, jarring our nerves. Eventually, I was sent through security with no stops, and it was just me and the sprit.

Once I broke through to the other side I was witnessing a legend. Not witnessing through a disconnected screen, but I finally felt like part of a movement: One for our generation to take back control of our government and once again make it by all the people and for the people. Hearing the cheers of our generation dreaming aloud and screaming for much-needed change, it was a spark of hope in this forlorn sea of darkness. As Bernie was on the stage he emanated a pure, genuine, righteous energy. It was then I knew this man could indeed be trusted to be our nation’s next president. He spoke on making a living wage having healthcare as a right not as a privilege, and most importantly being bold enough to say we need a revolution to our political system.  As I left as a representative of Kent State University, OSA and the fighting spirit of our generation, I screamed in the still quietness, “The students united will never be defeated!”

With my mission complete I reconnected with my group, and headed back to Kent. The Legacy Dinner was a microcosm of the disorganized American system: frustrated in the red tape, paranoid, ultimately falling apart, but at least it can still put on a show to remember.