When KidUnity attended the Bernie Sanders party on caucus night in Iowa, the mood was very upbeat and positive. A campaign that had come from nowhere and was now in a dead heat with Hillary Clinton had much to celebrate.
But for me, this positivity was punctured by some of the very audible boos that erupted when Clinton’s image appeared on a big screen. To be fair, these came from a small number of people and they subsided quickly. And when Sanders spoke he praised Clinton and the crowd applauded.
Given our experience, I was intrigued by this Politico article alleging that Sanders’ rallies in NH are taking a darker turn. The article references the boos we heard and asserts that this prompted Sanders’ campaign officials to turn of the tv screens.
According to Politico –
“The boos are getting louder. The chants are getting more personal. The shouts from the crowd are getting more frequent.
Top Democrats supporting Hillary Clinton have noticed the disdain that some of Bernie Sanders’ most hardcore backers have toward her, and are beginning to worry about what it’s going to take to bring them into the fold in November, when they assume Clinton will be the party nominee.”
I am curious to hear what the students remember and feel about this dynamic at the Sanders event. To me the photo that I included above (from the Politico story) suggests something ominous, sinister or even dangerous. Do you agree?
The day before the Iowa caucuses a few kids from KidUnity went to Bernie Sanders headquarters. We made many phone calls to convince the people of Iowa to “Feel the Bern”. Many of the people we called were already voting for Bernie Sanders, but there were some people that we were able to persuade. When we arrived, we spoke to one of the many Bernie Sanders supporters. He said, “Bernie Sanders was the only good candidate to become president for this country.”
On February 1st at Bernie Sander’s after party, KidUnity was met by cries of, “We love you, Bernie,” and “Keep fighting,” and most of all, “Feel the bern.” Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were in a virtual tie and the crowd was going wild. Bernie Sanders came up to the podium to speak, unleashing yells and claps from the crowd. First, Sanders thanked Clinton and O’Malley, and then went on to say, “We can no longer continue to have a corrupt campaign.” He spoke about how three and a half million people have helped volunteer. The average donation was $27. Sanders also didn’t use superPACs. He stated, “The American people are saying no to a rigged economy.” He also said that wealth is not equal, and he wants to create an equal economy. Sanders wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour. He also said that public colleges and universities should be tuition free and that he is against student debt. He also said, “Stop worrying about campaign funds!” He guarantees health care to all people. “I believe health care is a right, not a privilege,” Sanders stated passionately. “Enough is enough,” he said. “This country belongs to all of us.”
January 31, 2016 KidUnity met with United States’s 30th Secretary of Agriculture and Iowa’s 40th Governor, Tom Vilsack.
“Stay involved, dream big, and never give up.” shared Secretary Vilsack towards the end of the interview with KidUnity. KidUnity asked questions to both Governor Vilsack and his wife, Christie Vilsack.
Governor Vilsack believes that the US needs more rural communities, there need to be more small businesses, and that GMO’s are the base of US’s agricultural economy. While Vilsack was governor, those were the strongest six years of agricultural trading. The trading increased 180% since 2006.
Secretary Vilsack also thinks that conserving natural resources is a must. Resources is a long-term strength of the US’s economy. He has made over 500 investments into food companies.
Along with his wife, Vilsack is helping to improve school meals to make them healthier. He has also paired up with First Lady, Michelle Obama’s, Let’s Move campaign.
Vilsack likes a balance between GMO’s and Organic. Genetically Modified foods have been around for 3,000 years and are a big part of the economy. Genetic Modification is going to help when the climate is not going to. Genetically Modified foods have increased 170% since the 1950’s.
Meeting Governor Vilsack and Ms. Vilsack was an amazing experience that none of us will forget.
While in Des Moines, Iowa, KidUnity visited the head Des Moines newspaper company on Monday, February 1. It was a really neat experience as we saw all of the technology used to report on the Caucus. We saw how people used social media and websites to spread the news. We saw how the websites were administered and controlled. One newspaper employee said that it was very similar to the movie business with the same equipment and the business runs the same way.
We even saw the stage where the reporters would be reporting from, and it was very cool to see the way that the news business runs.
That is it for now!
If you are still not sure about who you are going to vote for, we found a great website for you. It is called I Side With. What you do is answer a series of different questions about the issues that all of the candidates are discussing. There are approximately ten different topics that I Side With mentions. Each topic has specific questions, and the site asks how strongly you feel about the topic. After you finish answering the questions, you are able to submit this information. Then you can see which candidate you side with the most. It gives you a percentage for each of the top candidates you agree with.
I Side With:
KidUnity celebrated Bernie Sanders virtual tie at the Holiday Inn. Sanders had lost by four delegates but that didn’t matter too much. What mattered was that Sanders fans put up a fight and now Sanders has the chance to be the primary democratic candidate. On December 15, 2015 the polls showed 52.7% for Clinton, 35.0% for Sanders, and 5.1% for O’Malley. The Iowa Caucus showed Clinton had 49.9%, Sanders had 49.6% and O’Malley had 0.6%. Sanders went up about 15% in a month and a half.
KidUnity celebrated this amazing news. We held up signs and chanted with hundreds of other Sanders fans. They were so cheerful and passionate about their candidate. When they showed Clinton talking on the news, every time she said something everyone cheered “She’s a liar!” Sometimes the video turned off, which caused everyone to cheer as well. It was so much fun cheering for my candidate.
Over KidUnity’s days in Iowa, we had many opportunities to interview people from all over the USA. In this article we will talk about three people who were interviewed. Although some of these people were not from Iowa, they all supported their candidate whole-heartedly.
The first person we interviewed is named Megan on January 30th. She is from Northwest Arkansas and supports Ted Cruz. She loves him so much and she has been working in the Cruz Iowa Headquarters. “Cruz is the only true candidate that represents me,” stated Megan passionately. She agrees with Cruz’s homosexual, social, moral, abortion, and family beliefs as well as many others. She also agrees with Cruz’s strong relationship with God.
The second person we interviewed was named Cliff Maloney on February 1st. He is the National Youth Director and supports Rand Paul’s views fully. He talked about Paul’s views on the youth vote and how he has a liberty centered vision. He also showed us a video about the Youth Vote. A quote spoken many times throughout the video was, “I stand with Rand because Rand stands with us.” Cliff Maloney knew he would be working hard for Rand Paul for the next year, but he planned to go back to teaching 5th grade even if Rand wins the presidential spot.
The third person we interviewed chose to be anonymous and spoke to us on February 1st right after the caucuses. He supported Marco Rubio because he believes Rubio is “very civilized and a lot of fun”. When asked about the caucuses he said, “It’s really something to look forward to.” He also said, “You don’t caucus, you don’t vote, you don’t complain.”
On Monday night, Kidunity went to Bernie Sanders’s celebratory party for the Iowa caucuses. When we walked in, we saw about two hundred excited Bernie Sanders supporters. They were extremely excited about Bernie Sanders being in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton. This happened for the first time on the Democratic side in Iowa! There was music blasting while we were waiting for Bernie Sanders to show up. Everyone was dancing while we were watching the results of the caucuses on CNN. Then, out of the blue, everyone goes crazy, We all looked up and there he was. Bernie Sanders! Bernie Sanders couldn’t talk for about two minutes because of all the cheering. He gave his celebratory speech with such enthusiasm. When he left, everyone was pouring out of the room full of energy from the party. It was truly a distinguishing moment of our trip to Iowa.
The Iowa Caucuses provided us with profound insights into our democratic process and the importance of civic engagement. Many of us marveled at having front row seats to “democracy in action” and caucus night was heralded as a sacred ritual in which we would celebrate our fellow citizens’ right to vote. But we all also knew the complicated history of voting rights in our nation.
In order to help the students understand the importance and larger context of what they were about to witness – after all, it’s rare to witness actual voting since Americans typically use a secret ballot – we designed a powerful, interactive exercise on the evolution of voting rights in the United States. Civil rights historian Daniel McGuire’s lesson emphasized that the right to vote was not a birth right for many groups (non-landowning men, women, African Americans) and that citizens must cherish and protect this painfully acquired right. Our main point was that both in the context of US history and world history, voting rights, free speech, and a peaceful political process are not the norm and must never be taken for granted. Our students’ strong grasp of the civil rights movement (from their studies in the fifth grade at Carlthorp School), as well as a special and unanticipated encounter that evening, helped underscore this point.
At the Jordan Creek School caucus that KidUnity attended, we watched voters separate themselves in the room based on which candidate they supported. At the conclusion of this sorting and counting process, individuals from the two sides – Clinton and Sanders – were then selected to represent their candidates as delegates at Iowa’s state convention.
One man who stepped forward to be chosen as a delegate had a remarkable story. He introduced himself to his fellow caucus attendees as one of the “lost boys” from Sudan. He explained that many of his friends had been killed by civil war, disease, and famine, that he had been separated from his family for twenty-three years, and that he had been forced to join an army at the age of thirteen. Now he was a father of a second grader, a student of environmental science, and an American citizen. That night – before our eyes – he became a delegate for Bernie Sanders.
Of all of the remarkable people we encountered on this trip, this man had the most powerful impact on me.