Super Tuesday has come and gone, and many students have likely sported their “I Voted” sticker around campus after pledging support to their chosen candidate.
Monday night, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the ETSU College Democrats hosted a Bernie Sanders rally in the ETSU amphitheater in order to bring together Bernie supporters from around the community and listen to music performed by local musicians.
Students and campaign volunteers were at the event, sporting their t-shirts and stickers.
ETSU student Adam Jaddua, who is an Afghanistan combat veteran, attended the rally to show his support.
“The reason I’m here supporting Bernie Sanders is because he voted ‘no’ for the Iraq war,” Jaddua said. “A lot of my friends served there, and a lot of my friends were wounded there. That was a big mistake. That shows that [Sanders] has foreign policy chops, and he knows what he’s talking about.”
Another student, Amira, who is friends with Jaddua, came out to the event to support Sanders.
“I believe that anybody working forty hours a week should not live in poverty,” Amira said, “and I think Bernie will help us achieve that.”
Mary Headrick, a retired physician, spoke at the event, and she explained that as an endorser of Bernie and a volunteer with his campaign, she was asked to represent him at regional meetings where he did not have a designated speaker present.
“I’ve been following Bernie for six or eight years,” Headrick said. “I was incensed enough as a physician seeing how bad our treatment was of the middle class and the poor that I ran myself for office with many issues we’ve talked about on the Bernie Sanders Campaign.”
Headrick said during the recession of 2008, many of her patients were over-worked and over-stressed.
She also talked about the fact that many college students face massive amounts of debt upon graduation, and she wished that, because this the rally was held on campus, it would have had a larger attendance.
“However, there’s a problem because only 20 percent of 20-somethings vote,” Headrick said. “60 percent of sixty-somethings vote, and that’s bad for all. It’s got to change. … Only about 23 percent label themselves as Republican among eligible voters, so it’s not a party thing. It is a lack of engagement over-all.”
Carleen Claybaker, another Sanders campaign volunteer, was pleased with the turnout at the ETSU rally.
“I am thrilled that there is ETSU progressives as an organized group in existence at all,” Claybaker said, “so just the fact that there was more than two people here absolutely thrills me to pieces.”
Claybaker said she has been a long time Bernie supporter and is excited that he is running for office.
“I think it is an excellent thing to have happened to our country that he did decide to run for president,” Claybaker said. “I have in my lifetime never known a candidate that had the integrity, honesty, consistency and the faithfulness to his ability to be a public servant. He wants every American to have a fair shot.”
Claybaker would also like to see more young people going out to vote.
“Congratulations, you now outnumber [the babyboomers], and this is your show.” Claybaker said. “I know that my generation felt like we changed the world, and I expect you all to do the same.”