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Bernie and The Bard

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks April 28 at a rally in Springfield's Island Park
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks April 28 at a rally in Springfield's Island Park. Photo by Todd Cooper.

While Bernie Sanders may have a thing or two to say about the income inequality and power grabs of 17th-century Denmark, he very much enjoyed his Hamlet-themed introduction at Springfield’s Island Park.

“To Bern or not to Bern,” local Democrat Matt Keating poeticized to the crowd of 8,000. “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the huff and bluster of the far right wing. Or to take on the status quo and organize against it.”

Keating’s soliloquy went on for several more stanzas before a smiling Sanders took the stage.

“I gotta say: I have received many introductions throughout this campaign — this is the first Shakespearean introduction,” Sanders said. “Let me thank Matt Keating for his poetry. I don’t know that my mere prose can keep up with his poetry, but I will try.”

Keating, a lead volunteer for Lane County for Bernie Sanders and a board member for Lane Community College, says he tweaked Shakespeare’s piece months ago with friend and mentor Judith Sparky Roberts, a theater instructor at LCC.

“Judy and I are big fans of Shakespeare and, of course, Sen. Sanders and when inspiration hits, inspiration hits,” Keating tells EW. “I performed it here in town locally at Tsunami Books and Cozmic Productions, Shakespeare in the Park, but never with 8,000 fellow Bernie Sanders supporters.”

Keating continues: “I’m thrilled to blend my passions for the Bard and our next president of the United States.”