L-S students, Lancaster County "Feel the Bern"

In theory, a Socialist would not find much company in the historically conservative Lancaster County, but Bernie Sanders may be an exception to the rule.
The view from the bleachers in the Pucillo Gymnasium

The Vermont senator running for the Democratic presidential nomination gave a speech to some 3,000 attendees -- many donning clothing featuring his slogan "Feel the Bern" -- at the Pucillo Gymnasium on the Millersville University campus Friday night.

Among the attendees were over a dozen current Lampeter-Strasburg students.

We spoke to three of them, and each was quite enthusiastic about what they heard. They each plan to cast their first-ever ballot for Sanders in Pennsylvania's primary tomorrow.

Here's what they had to say:

Maggie Johnson, LSNews.org Assistant Sports Editor:

"My large take away from the Bernie Sanders rally that his main goal is to make everything fair and equal including equal pay, which he demonstrated through comic relief, and equal health care coverage. Since he spoke at Millersville University, the topic of free college tuition was rather apropos, as many of the supporters were either current or prospective college students. Along with his opinions on equality, he also wants to end the war on drugs. By doing this he would further plan to decrease the incarceration rate. 

"The speakers leading up to the much awaited Bernie Sanders, served as more persuasion to vote for him. While none of them were 'over the top', there was one woman who broke down crying, in front of thousands of people talking about her struggles paying her college bills all while being unable to pay for her medical bills regarding her numerous pituitary brain tumors. She spoke about making the choice of having an emergency eye surgery, or waiting to have money to pay for it when it became even worse. Through all of her struggles regarding finances, she fully believes in Bernie and what he is offering. She was by far the most impactful speaker before Bernie appeared. The overall experience was incredibly memorable and comical, for all the Bernie supporters at the rally, this provided reassurance to vote for him to benefit the country.

"He has my vote."

David Johnson, LSNews.org Reporter:

"As I sat there watching a sea of nearly 3,000 people burst into energy, I couldn’t help but feel the Bern this last Friday. Before we even got into the room, a line of eager Bernie Sanders supporters were filling the air with excited conversation. Waves of hands passed from the front to the back of the line as button, T-shirt, and other merchandise vendors called out to the masses. As we packed ourselves into the Pucillo Gym, then energy continued to build. Signs were raised and waved and bands played as people filed in to find any seat that was available. Not too long after the doors were open, the stands were filled, a crowd had gathered in the center of the gymnasium, and the overflow room had been filled with over 600 people. 

"Several speakers came before Senator Sanders, each receiving an uproar of whistles and applause, but when Sanders himself entered the room, the stadium exploded into excitement. Watching the response to him simply entering the room, it’s no wonder why this campaign is being called a political revolution. Listening to him speak was an experience unlike any that I have ever encountered before. At the end of the rally I had the distinct honor to shake hands with the senator. I can say that he is as friendly as we’ve heard and more. I am excited to cast my vote for Bernie this Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s Democratic Primary."

Aaron Davies, LSNews.org Opinion Editor:

"After hearing word that Sen. Sanders was to hold a rally at Millersville, I immediately and frantically devoted myself to finding a sub to cover my shift at work which was difficult because too many of my co-workers had the same intention of attending the rally. I waited for over two hours in an unbelievably long line before entering the gym holding the rally where I waited for another hour before the first speaker even took to the stage.

"The crowd was bursting with excitement. The explosive cheers, whoops, and hollers of 2800 Bernie fans, the large majority being college students, thundered throughout the gym on random occasions with no purpose. Chants of, “BER-NIE, BER-NIE, BER-NIE” formed spontaneously from the crowd’s excitement. It was deafening.

"When Bernie finally did take the stage after a few introductory speakers who focused on local issues, he might as well have been Freddie Mercury. He captivated the crowd in a spell. We roared with cheers and claps at the slightest of promises and fell deathly silent the moment Bernie raised his hand to hush us. The energy in the increasingly humid, sweaty room seemed palpable. It felt glorious.

"After being surrounded by such enthusiastic supporters I almost forgot the slim chance the apparent deity has of winning the nomination. I must wonder if the crowds Hillary draws are as exuberant and worshipping."

The opinions in the article are those of the stated commentators. They do not constitute an official position of the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, nor the editorial board of LSNews.org. Editorial staff reserved the right to make minor grammatical changes to the commentators' submissions. Questions or concerns can be directed to lspioneernews@gmail.com.

View a gallery of photos via Google Photos

--Benjamin Pontz, LSNews.org Editor-In-Chief

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