Reflections on The Strokes: Bernie Sanders Rally
Tom Angell, Staff Writer
Have you ever been to a local basement show, where the vibe is just positive and happy? Where there is indie music blaring from a local band where you know half the members? In those moments you may think to yourself, “if only popular music was this good.” At these shows no one seems to care about your background, or your ethnicity. It is a smoke-filled cellar, oftentimes with exposed wires, insulation and Christmas lights, the drinks are cheap if not self-provided, the music is loud and the atmosphere is welcoming. If you can imagine one of these punk shows, that is almost exactly how the Bernie Sanders rally at the University of New Hampshire felt a few weeks ago.
The night featured a packed bill with appearances by AOC, Senator Nina Turner and Dr. Cornell Washington, just to name a few. However, one of the biggest draws was The Strokes. Admittedly, The Strokes playing at the Bernie rally was an important factor in my decision to attend this event. Regardless of my own musical desires, there was a big part of me that felt it was important to participate in our democracy, and witness a historic night.
It all began when I saw an outer space themed concert poster on the indie music website Pitchfork. It ended with moshing in my Sperry’s to the popular Strokes song Reptillia. However, how I got to this point needs some context. I could say all I need to say about the rally itself by pointing out the fact that when I parked my car in a random lot at the University of New Hampshire I was met with volunteers handing out free Girl Scout cookies to thank us for coming. Once we got inside the rally, we got our Bernie poster, and took our spots down on the floor. What amazed me most was the genuine happiness and excitement for this one politician. As someone who is still admittedly undecided on whom to vote for, I was impressed by the passion that these supporters had. My friend Thomas Ross (class of 2023) and I were eventually
interviewed by left-leaning blog Mother Jones. In this interview we were asked about grassroots energy to which I responded that I did not believe (and still do not two weeks later) that any establishment candidate could muster up as much grassroots support as Bernie.
Once the opening band stopped playing, the speakers started. In my opinion, the most impressive of the wide array of liberal speakers was Nina Turner. The junior senator from Ohio delivered a passionate speech that often came across as a yell about injustice in this country, appropriately quoting MLK as she ardently advocated for Senator Sanders. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the final speaker who spoke well in support for her mentor. It seems quite likely that she is the heir apparent to the liberal wing of the party, and her constant speaking for Sanders is further proof of this.
Sanders himself was the headline and he certainly delivered. He introduced his family and went aggressively into his stump speech. The most vigorous applause came when he gave his stance on abortion rights, among other women’s issues. This said a lot about the demographics of the rally itself, as it seemed that the audience was about two thirds female. My personal favorite part of his speech was when he advocated for a federally mandated wage of $60,000 for teachers. I frantically screeched my approval for this policy as everyone around me chuckled knowing that I was certainly going into education. After about 30 minutes of speaking he introduced The Strokes, and what had formerly been a political rally turned into a bonafide rock show as the crowd began to rush forward. The Strokes introduced their new album and played a lively set for about 40 minutes before wrapping up the night.
Political opinions set aside, this event was truly historic. A big-name rock group as timeless as The Strokes playing a concert at a revolutionary political figure’s rally is just further proof of how music can unite people. The welcoming atmosphere contributed to how inspiring
the event was. Regardless of who ends up on top in this hotly contested primary, Bernie’s supporters have a passion that seems unmatched. The grassroots are rising, but it remains to be seen if these roots will produce fruit in the upcoming election.