In Search of Bernie: Photo Ops


Just as I began to debate having enough time to duck between buildings to fire one up, here comes Bernie Sanders and his entourage, coming straight at me. I was stage left of the podium next to the sound engineer’s tent, fumbling quickly to get the lens cap off my camera for a shot of the Senator. The crowd was chanting his name and Sanders seemed uncertain where he was being led, but continued to burrow his way toward where I was standing. He got close enough for me to reach out and grab his hand but I wasn’t there to be that asshole who prods and pokes at a public figure.

I still hold an image in my mind from years gone by: Indianapolis, back when Bill Clinton was our president. There was a dedication ceremony being given for a statue of Bobby Kennedy that was to be placed in a park just north of downtown. Speakers for the fanfare included Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy. At the end of the President’s speech, he smiled with the others on stage and waved out to the people, a few folks even managed to shake his hand. I was tempted to fight the crowd and get up front to shake the hand of a real U.S. President, then I looked at the swarm of those who were doing what I was thinking. They weren’t as polite or humble as I would have been…or were they? Could I become like one of those animals, pushing and shoving my way to get close to the flesh of a celebrity? I was pretty fucking shamed at the human race that moment. They acted like a starving mob of wild boars being thrown slabs of meat.

Bernie’s people called at him to back up, away from me, to navigate his way through the sound engineering tent and up the concrete steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. I was given my moment and snapped a few shots of him before he got away. I wasn’t caught on the wrong side of his approach to the stage after-all, so with the Bernie shot taken, I could ease up a bit. I took a few more pictures to document the occasion-Bernie with the rep from Jobs in America and Good Jobs Nation, Bernie next to the President of the Indiana Chapter of the AFL-CIO…and the fanfare continued. Sanders began to speak about the nationwide drive and support of this team which is working to better wage conditions for workers in America. This was a more calm event than I had anticipated, proof once again that you can’t predict these fucking rallies. I was halfheartedly expecting a call for blood after the incident in Charlottesville, but Bernie brought a more tempered approach on what to do at this moment. So many people and politicians are currently caught up chasing the fires the Crimson King starts on a daily basis. Rather than waste all their time trying to catch Trump, this group wants to try and accomplish some positive, constructive action, while our mad ruler continues with his schemes. They still feel the importance of pursuing Donald Trump and holding him accountable for all his committed acts, but they can’t let any form of progress on issues they find a support for just slip away. The wage issue is their big agenda. All these rallies have their agendas, this rally was about wages.

I pulled away from the sound tent and wandered back out into the street around the Circle Monument, now more curious about crowd watching. Those up front and swarmed together to hear Sanders were in for the long haul, listening with intent. Gathered on the outskirt perimeter of the crowd were a mixture of Conservative and Progressive attendees. Trump people and Sanders people, however, the Trump people were under-represented…not many Trump folks there. I went over to talk to some of them, including the guy I met at the anti-Sharia demonstration at the State Capital not too long ago, the man who was from the group called Identity Evropa, sometimes called the Dragons. I wasn’t imagining him getting too radical in this surrounding; just there to show a presence. A few hardliner Right-Wing, or Alt-Right supporters stood around too, but no sign of dudes in paramilitary outfits brandishing weapons, like the Sharia law gathering.

I wandered over toward two ladies carrying a big sign promoting Trump and began to snap some shots of them and their big sign. They asked if I would mind taking some shots of them positioned in front of the Sanders crowd with their big ass sign. I had no problem with that-I was there to document what was happening. Sure, I told them, stand there in the street and I’ll snap some pictures. While I tried to take pics, various individuals would wander over to where me and the ladies were, peel off from the Sanders speech and sort of get in the way of my shot, or accidentally run into the sign. They wanted to make the picture difficult to take. I did manage to get a couple of shots and the ladies thanked me, then one of them casually, yet kind of under her breath, asked if I could email them a copy of the pictures. Sure, still, no problem with me. Then she asked if I would send them some images of the Sanders crowd I took, but could I do a little manipulation of the image to make the crowd appear to be sad.
That was a problem with me.



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