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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