HOW I PUT WORDS IN SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS' MOUTH

  1. I don't know how this happened.
    I’m escorted to a dim locker room backstage at the Sports Arena. It’s 5pm, the night of Senator Bernie Sanders’ first LA rally, and it’s just me and Sarah Silverman, some folding tables, and the drummer for The Doors.
  2. The room slowly fills in with a few more people.
    Wil Wheaton is here? I meet the small crew that’s Bernie’s campaign staff. I talk about punk rock with one, how late they were up preparing with another. It dawns on me that if Senator Sanders is elected President, this inner circle will continue on to run the White House.
  3. Bernie enters.
    No hullabaloo. No ballyhoo. He circles the room, shakes hands with the fifteen of us, takes the head seat and gets down to business. His hair is mussed, his shirt too big. His wife is homespun and no Michelle. Bernie growls and glares. He’s raw and real.
  4. Bernie needs help.
    He needs advice. He wants to talk about how better to get his message out there. There’s momentum, yes, how do we amplify? He asks us, because we’re “the creative ones." Hands shoot up. Everyone fans out their ideas. There’s a lot of talk about social media influencers and fastening onto large Twitter followings.
  5. I totally disagree.
    I can’t stand this Marketing blather. “Social media is NOT the answer, Senator,” I profess, “It’s a tool. You’re the artisan. Your strength is your truthfulness.” He entertains me. “Social media is about Accessibility. Bernie Sanders is about Authenticity. In the end, that’s what wins hearts.”
  6. He takes the point.
    And we set off on talk of other avenues to connect and communicate "Bernie Sanders." He’s so fervent and coarse, that it’s hard not to believe every word he’s saying. Far from an oiled politician, he’s more the cantankerous firebrand that’s unaware of how old he is (and looks). The Senator’s got more zeal than the thousands of college kids stomping their feet outside. I feel like even if he wasn't running, he'd lock himself in the garage, trying to change the world like a mad scientist.
  7. (There’s so much I can’t talk about (SORRY))
    At some point I press him on the broken college system. If a young person even gets in, they’re bagged with a lifetime of debt. Then, no jobs. He absorbs it (BTW No one’s recording any of this). We talk for an hour and the Senator rakes through our ideas over and over again. He exhausts our resources. When he feels like he’s done, he pushes back from the table and says, “Now, I need to write my speech.” We laugh, because he’s going on in 30 minutes. I don’t think he was kidding. And this is why.
  8. We're taken to our seats.
    It seems like the entire world is here. Not a bare seat. The corridors are three layers deep of standing-room-only. All here to see Senator Bernie Sanders speak in his race for the presidency. This is the biggest concert I’ve ever been to, and certainly the loudest. After a few guest speakers,
  9. The time has come.
    Senator Bernie Sanders holds court. He hunches and grips the podium like he’s steering a massive ship. His voice is hoarse and exposed, he is almost lecturing - but not his audience - his opponents. The crowd erupts and crashes together like waves. Everyone is here for a reason, everyone is searching for an answer. He reaches out and connects. It’s religious and it’s emotional.
  10. And then,
    Bernie Sanders starts talking about truth. My friend Luis, Bernie’s culture adviser, taps my shoulder, "This part is new. He’s never said this before. That’s all you.” I look up at the screen and the Senator is addressing the importance of authenticity to 27,500 people. I can’t believe it. He wasn’t kidding when he said he needed our help. Later, he dives into his fight for free college tuition, for young people and jobs. Luis and I are laughing. This is insane.
  11. I don't know
    Who I’m voting for. But I like Bernie Sanders. Hillary is a fantastic and experienced leader also, and I trust her (see previous List). I mean, I’m down to go to some Republican stuff if anyone wants to join. Isn’t this the point? We have 18 months to figure this out for ourselves. Do the research, learn the issues, and plant your flag. This land is your land.
  12. I peed next to Sarah Silverman
    So Bernie is writing his speech and there's only one set of stalls in the locker room. “Are you gonna pee?” Sarah smirked when I turned the corner to find her. “Okay, you use that one (points to right stall), I use this one (left).” Umm..is this ok? “Sure it is! Go!” We both hose down and joke about how we’re actually just making the pee sound with our phones. Washing our hands next to each other, I challenge her to make eye contact with me after our awkward exchange. She has no problem.