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Letter From Convention: First-Time Delegate From Norwalk Finds Unity On Bus

Chris Yerinides
Chris Yerinides Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk resident Chris Yerinides is attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as a Bernie Sanders delegate. Here are his reflections on his experience Monday at the convention in his own words:

Today I attended my very first Democratic National Convention with the great honor of representing Connecticut’s 4th District as an elected delegate for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

While the convention itself was extremely eventful and emotional — from the seemingly endless applause for Bernie as he took the stage, to the constant reminder of Hillary [Clinton]'s narrow lead in pledged delegates throughout the convention — I found great value in the events outside gavel time.

The bus rides to and from the venue were inspiring due to the overwhelming wealth of knowledge present on each bus. While many of the media outlets are currently reporting an unrepairable divide in the Democratic party, my bus rides proved otherwise. I rode with delegates for Hillary Clinton who were able to hold civilized conversations with Bernie delegates, and I'm sure there are Hillary delegates who would view the conversations they had with young, energetic Bernie supporters as valuable as well. The buses allowed each group to view the other as human — after all, we're on the same team.

While on the floor, emotions were at their highest. As much as I value cooperation, I would like to to address what happened on the floor. As an obvious Sanders supporter, I would like to offer my perspective to the other side.

Yes, there were a few disruptive Bernie supporters on the floor. I am not attempting to justify their disruptive behavior. However, I am attempting to explain their frustrations. Bernie's campaign has created a movement of extremely passionate supporters, who have felt inferior during this entire process despite their overwhelming numbers. Very recently things seem to have peaked for many supporters.

Clinton's announcement of Tim Kaine as a running mate upset many, myself included, who were hoping for a more progressive candidate such as Elizabeth Warren. The email leaks over the past few days finally shed an official light on rumors that circulated over the last year. While Debbie Wasserman Schulz was forced to resign from the Democratic National Committee — something many Berners rejoiced over — she immediately picked up an honorary position in Clinton's campaign.

We understand that we have the most progressive platform in Democratic party history, but a platform isn't set in stone. Sanders supporters are more than happy to unify the party, but we would like the same respect from the DNC, Clinton campaign, and its supporters, on the floor as we get on the buses.

Chris Yerinides

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