DENNIS – Before volunteering for Bernie Sanders, the last presidential campaign that Brian O’Malley of Provincetown worked for was that of John F. Kennedy. At the time, O’Malley was 12 years old.
“I debated another kid in my school, who stood up for Nixon,” recalled O’Malley. O’Malley told this story while attending an event on Sunday afternoon called “Unplugged For Bernie,” in which nine bands performed in the warm and homey atmosphere of O’Shea’s Olde Inne.
The event was not a fundraiser, but rather of gathering of like-minded people and bands, who often changed lyrics of well-known protest songs to include the word “Bernie.”
While no real speeches were given, there was plenty of Bernie swag available, from buttons to hats to a T-shirt with a map of Cape Cod coyly etched into the face of their favorite presidential candidate.
“We want folks who are working so hard to meet other people that are supporters of Bernie, and to inspire others to get involved in putting Bernie in the White House,” said Kathy Clobridge, a volunteer from Harwich.
That work has included registering people to vote, manning a spot at the Cape Cod mall, and making phone calls, most recently to New York state for Tuesday’s primary.
In the March Massachusetts primary on Cape Cod, Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by 669 votes, winning eight of 15 towns. Prior to that, this group worked New Hampshire. Since then, they have made calls to other states. Sunday’s event was a chance for some fun.
The crowd in Dennis wasn’t large. Nor was it full of millenials, those most known to support Sanders. This was a true Cape Cod crowd, that of mostly, but not all, folks closer in age to Sanders himself than to millenials.
John Bangert and Joe Bangert are twin identical brothers from Harwich who said they were in a Catholic orphanage when Kennedy ran for president. “I registered as a Democrat on my 21st birthday,” said John. They have both been involved in campaigns ever since then.
Noting the unusual voting this year with such passionate support for outsiders upending both major political parties, Joe Bangert said, “There is an ideological crisis in both parties. People are sick of the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum system.”
In fact, O’Malley said that when he volunteers at the mall, “I love having a conversation with Trump people… Trump’s people and Bernie’s people both recognize that the system is rigged. Trump’s people look at it and say it’s the government that’s the problem. We look at it and say it’s the corporations, goddamn it.”
Then O’Malley paused. “And actually that’s a false dichotomy,” he said. Then he stated Sanders’ now-familiar refrain about how the government and big corporations are tied together.
It is safe to say that everyone in the room agreed with him.
Clobridge said that there have been other social events, such as house parties and pizza parties. Unplugged For Bernie was the second musical event, she said.
The first musical event on Cape Cod for the Sanders campaign, a couple of months ago, drew about 300 people, said Clobridge. Sunday’s event drew a fraction of that, but no one there paid attention to crowd size.
This was a free concert with a quasi-political vibe and a bunch of bands – sort of a tiny Woodstock for aging liberals in an Irish Pub.
– If anyone from the Trump, Clinton, Cruz or Kasich Cape Cod campaigns are doing any music events like this, we’ll be do our best to be there. [email protected]
– For MUSIC VIDEOS FROM THE EVENT SEE…