October 10, 2015

On the same day Tucson students grieved the death of one student and injuries to four others at the hands of a gunman, Bernie Sanders took to the podium before an overflow crowd of 13,000 people. Departing from his usual stump speech, Sanders took on the issues of responsible gun ownership and immigration reform.

Sanders offered his condolences and prayers, but then added: “We also know that we are tired of condolences, and we are tired of just prayers.”

“The truth of the matter is … the issue of gun violence is not going to be solved easily,” Sanders said, but he said that is no excuse not to seek common-sense solutions and to move the current debate beyond “yelling and demeaning” one another.

Amen to that. He then turned to immigration reform.

On immigration, Sanders sought to connect with a racially mixed crowd in a state with a large Latino population by relaying the story of his father’s arrival in the United States from Poland at age 17 with little money and little ability to speak English.

“My family’s story is a story very similar to many people who are here tonight, and that story is the story of America,” Sanders said, calling it “a story rooted in family and fueled by hope.”

Sanders repeated calls he has made previously to provide legal protection for 11 million undocumented workers in the country and for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. And if elected president, he said would take executive actions aimed at keeping families together.

“Our job is to bring families together, not tear them apart,” Sanders said.

This is the message our side is bringing. One of hope and compassion, not hate and authoritarianism. Let's hope it resonates.

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