Unleashing the BERN! Informing the Uninformed

Unleashing the BERN! – Informing the Uninformed

(Feb. 22, 2016 11:22 ET) It was an nice cool dry Friday evening in a little busy part of the place they call downtown here in my neck of the woods in Florida. I had decided to roam around the sidewalks watching people make the best of their weekend night zipping around with family and friends in and out of coffee shops and restaurants. Some would even take the weight off their feet by sitting in a small park area with benches to take in the a wall size mural on the side of one of the buildings there.

This was where I decided to take some night pictures at, in this little sectioned off pubic area on the block’s corner call Pioneer Park.

Street photography is one of the more challenging kinds of photography. It places one at odds with the social temperaments of the area, and you will most likely have to socialize at every location you stop and try compose your next shot. I’m not talking about passing by taking a quick iPhone snapshot. The night photography I do, and for this night would involve locating interesting parts of the area, setting up a tripod, and taking slow-shutter, long 30 second exposures.

This setup, along with a big professional camera, lens and the look like you know what your doing creates lots of curiosity passer buyers to stop and inquire what is going on. You will at least get the looks and be prepared to deal with making a public spectacle of yourself on the streets. If you’ve done this for a while, it still takes a little getting used to.

Public street photography then opens up the opportunity to talk and meet with people.

So, if prepared, it is also a good opportunity to do some soft grass roots campaigning for Bernie Sanders. So I decided I would have an agenda, when responding to those bold enough to engage me while doing street photography.

One particular area I had in mind, and which fits into a larger project in my area, is this small public park with benches that has a large mural painted on the side of one of the adjacent buildings next to it.

After setting up and starting to take pictures of the scene, I noticed this guy sitting on one of the benches in the park. he was a black guy, clean face, casually dressed perhaps in his mid-thirties. He appeared to me to be sitting there with an agenda. Perhaps to hustle people for something.

It wasn’t long after I started shooting did this guy make his move to ask me, “hey do you have any money I could use to get a hot meal?”

Being prepared for him to make his move, I quickly dismissed his initial question with a, “No, I’m just here.” Or something along those lines. I then quickly seized the opportunity to change the conversation to who he was going to be voting for and asked him, “so who are you going to be voting for?”

That’s were this guy, of all people began to educate me on how the lack of information can affect how people vote.

Interestingly, his default, uncertain, kinda shooting in the dark response was, “well, probably Clinton.”

The way he said it basically told me he merely was going to vote for Clinton just because he recognized the name.

Now days later, I found myself reflecting on my conversation with this guy, who told me his name was, “William.”

This morning I watched the online episode of Meet the Press (MTP) (for last Sunday) which had a great breakdown of the elections up to yesterday, and good info on what to expect in the upcoming weeks.

During MTP political analysis session, they began spit-balling the whats and the whys as to how the candidates got to where they are, their strengths, and their weaknesses.

There was a moment in the discussion about Clinton voters winning a lot of the black votes. At the same time, the said that Bernie was winning the younger voters, and had the highest marks for integrity and honesty.

So given my conversation with William, a black man, uneducated, street wise kinda guy, I discovered basically he was going to be voting for . . . Clinton simply because he knew her name.

That told me something about why Clinton may be getting the black votes now.

Purely because of the name recognition she was able to capitalize off of because of her husband, Bill Clinton, to include her time in office as well.

It was interesting to see how powerful name recognition could be when somebody has to make a decision about who to vote for. I suppose it’s like buying a product online, if your not really sure of it, perhaps you’ll go for the “named brand” item verses the generic.

In this regard, name recognition appears to be a very powerful force. William didn’t really having anything against Bernie, he just didn’t know the name.

Getting back to MTP’s further revelation that Bernie Sanders was winning a majority of the younger voters, also told me something as well. it told me that these younger voters also don’t know the Clinton name. In that sense, they they went out there and explored what options were out there, got informed and have taken each candidate at face value – which, because Bernie is who is is, they, the young, unpolluted electorate, choose Bernie.

Not knowing Bernie name sounds incredible to people like us, who have watch probably all his rallies, and have been waist deep in following the political campaigning since last year. I’m guilty of that, more so this election than any other. Mainly because of Bernie’s message – on everything.

Unfortunately, all our knowledge and conviction as to who the next president should me, is simply not enough.

Clearly William wasn’t stupid. He wasn’t a completely homeless guy either, he was engaged in his own way and will probably make it to the ballot box. Perhaps a little more motivated now because I spoke to him about who he was going to be voting for.

Upon reflection, I recall that I too was like William in terns of my degree of education and involvement in the elections of the past.

I think many of us before we got into being as engaged as we are in this election cycle were not as engaged in previous ones.

And maybe we also took a superficial look at the ballots, and just arbitrarily chose a decision one way or the other. Even going by what we knew about the candidate by their name, and not knowing really what they stood for really at the time. Even just which party they were running under.

After William said with wavering conviction, and an unthoughtful like response, that he was voting for Clinton, I thought to myself he doesn’t sound like he is certain on his choice. That William was merely going with what he knows about the candidate, And what he really was saying is that he chose Clinton because he merely knew the name – from the past.

Well, at this point I saw the conversation getting interesting to me so I asked him why was he supporting Clinton?

Well, William didn’t have much of a response if I recall. So I quickly started talking about Bernie Sanders. And to my surprise, he didn’t even know who he was. He didn’t and never heard of the name Bernie Sanders?

Now I know this is a long entry, and I’ll probably rewrite this into an article on my site, In any case, what was most interesting here was this guy, William, said he didn’t even know the name Bernie Sanders?

This says a lot. It says that for no other reason, William was voting for Clinton because he really didn’t have any alternative information to go off of.

This revelation, and after I look at all the rallies I watch online, I said how could this be. Millions of people have seen and at least know the name Bernie Sanders. Right? Well, that isn’t the case. There are people still out their who, like the way we were before we got into following politics closely, simply going off bits and pieces of information to make their choice.

If for no other reason than just not knowing the name Clinton, many voters will vote like William just because of name recognition. If for no other reason because, like William, they were simply uninformed, and without information.

Well, there I was standing in the middle of a small park along a busy street on a Friday night. I started letting William know who Bernie Sanders was.

I haven’t really had to verbalize, persuade, or at least educate somebody in person like that before. So I was not impressed with my limited ability at the time to be able to “sell” Bernie in a live, door to door, sale person like manner, as you will need to be able to do on the street. So practice!

In any case, While I fumbled to try to sell Bernie to William, I tried to recall all the bullet issues that Bernie mentions in all of his speeches.

Really, he has written our sales manual in his speeches. All you have to do is remember the one’s that are most meaningful to you, and use your own personal passion from there to leave with the person your campaigning.

It wasn’t easy, and I saw myself at times feeling like I was only saying things like, “trust me, just vote for Bernie Sanders.”

Though William didn’t have anywhere to go. He definitely had an attention span that was limited. He had other people to hustle for money.

While speaking with William there in the park, another person walked up beside us and undoubtedly was listening and interested in the conversation about Bernie. But played off his interest being there with the mural on the wall. People are funny.

William, didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the new guy in the area, so he asked him for money, “to get a hot meal.” When that didn’t work, he asked the guy for a cigarette. Which he got. William eventually walked off and we parted ways.

For no other reason people are just busy and operate on their own time frames. It’s not that they are not interested in talking politics, there is just a limited window of opportunity to talk to them about it on the street, if at all.

So you’ll have to wrap up a good summary of Bernie campaign points in just a few minutes. if you have time to expand, then you can give the full power-point presentation highlighting the points Bernie raises during his speeches as a guide.

So the moral of this story? Perhaps, people in some areas will be voting merely due to name recognition unless we purposefully put Bernie Sanders name out there. The kids are leaning toward Bernie because they have not been polluted by the Clinton distraction which allowed them to take a fresh look at, and to choose Bernie.

It is difficult to spread the word about Bernie if your in an area which has not been exposed to anything they don’t already know. On my scale, it was frustrating, but on a national scale, can you imagine how Bernie must feel when facing all fifty states?

In this respect, one has to start early. Like anything else your trying to sell or persuade a situation to happen. People have to be made aware of the option, consider the option, and discuss if further. Sounds brutal, doesn’t it?

Don’t underestimate your abilty to connect with mere passer byers on the streets. I’m writing this entire article about my interaction with William. And he is probably on another street corner trying to hustle money or cigarettes from somebody.

You never know how your input could effect somebody. And if somebody is merely voting because they know the Clinton name, a simple suggestion, from a passionate believer, could be all they need to see the light and change their choice to Bernie.

Use your passion, The passion will say a thousand words we can’t say in the limited couple of minutes we have to talk Bernie to people.

As long as the enthusiasm is genuine, you can cut out all of the statistical mumbo jumbo of selling points to convince somebody to vote for Bernie.

At least get a cool Bernie T-Shirt and wear it in public. Then when somebody walks up and ask you, “why are your voting for Bernie Sanders,” you can unleash the BERN!

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