Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Students discuss their work in class at the MESA center at American River College on April 25, 2024. (Photo: Cristian Gonzalez/CalMatters)
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    Tales from the editor — Riding the political wave — from Oakland to the White House?

    This column takes readers behind the scenes of what it’s like to report on events from the ground level with twists of humor and reflection.

    Standing in line for hours got me this close of a view to see the Kamala Harris rally in Oakland on Jan. 27, 2019.

    There are 21 months until we elect a new president, and the talk of who will replace Trump is already underway. The traditional boring politics are out the window.

    Americans have become policy wonk junkies. As I woke up early to go to a Kamala Harris presidential rally Jan. 27, I wondered why I was doing this to myself.

    In the first of many rallies to come, Harris arrived in Oakland and attracted a crowd of about 20,000.

    The location, Frank Ogawa Plaza, is the heart of a popular protest meeting area, a Black Panther anniversary location and the birthplace of Occupy Oakland. The square was never intended for so many people to swell its streets. Additionally, the stage drops down below street level and is only visible from a limited seating area.

    I arrived at 10:30 a.m. and stood in a line that stretched blocks away from the entrance. There was no media access when I got there, and after going through a security check at around noon I was not able to get press credentials. So again, as a lowly journalism student denied access, I ask: What am I doing here?

    Surrounded by strangers for hours, I started to people watch as streams of well-groomed people filed out of BART onto the street. I thought of two words: bourgeois progressives.

    I am someone who often goes to rallies in Oakland. At this one, what stood out to me was how many nice, well-intentioned people came out for a political fashion show.

    They want to do what is right for the country, but do not seem like they would understand what it was like being homeless, hungry or struggling for healthcare.

    I know corporate America when I see it, and I could smell the corporate money lining their pockets. Their noise sounded like, “Oh my god! She’ll be so tough on Trump! She’ll take him down!”

    As someone who worked in corporate America, I know these people are shielded from the dangers of the world — just close enough to see society falling apart.

    I’ve always been a political nerd. I knew who Bernie Sanders was the day he announced he was running for president. I remember Hillary Clinton when she was 20 years younger. I also saw the signs of the disaster that was the 2016 election.

    There’s nothing wrong with fighting against Trump, but I wondered as I looked at this picture of our country: Will Americans understand that politics is so much more? It is local! Right down to your schools, the food you eat and where housing developments will be built.

    Michelle Snider is co-editor of the Laney Tower.

    We all get lost in the mainstream, but will we be able to check the rivers and ponds in our rush to select a president candidate? It will be interesting to watch as we develop a new, and hopefully post-Trump, political culture.

    Life is unpredictable when it comes to disaster and inevitable when it comes to people’s habits. Two years is way too far away to turn into cheerleaders for any one candidate today.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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