WHO’S THIS BERNIE SANDERS?

Courtesy of Fred Bayles, theguardian.com, March 4, 2016

In 1972, a few weeks into my first job as a reporter at the Burlington Free Press, I was sent to check out reports of a demonstration in one of the s poorer neighborhoods.

The scene was somewhat chaotic. Three or four people were highly exercised about some housing-related issue, but it was hard to get past the rhetoric to understand the details. To add to my rookie confusion, the group was led by a wild-haired, wild-eyed 30-something with an incongruent Brooklyn accent. I took notes and retreated to the newsroom.

“Who is this guy … Bernard Sanders?” I asked the city editor, reading from my notebook. He took on the expression of a man who had just bit into a lemon.

“Oh, Bernie,” he said. “Forget it. No story.” He sent me back to my desk, where I took obits from LaVigne’s funeral home for the rest of my shift.

More than 40 years later, that first Bernie experience – and the others that followed – feels like today. Sanders has physically aged; the dark curly hair is straighter and white, the voice softer, the tone less strident. But his message has remained remarkably consistent for a former neighborhood rabble-rouser who became a US senator and a serious presidential candidate.

 

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