Things certainly feel momentous today. After four long and grueling years of having Donald Trump as president, so many Americans can’t help but feel like they now have a fresh start, a second chance to do better, an opportunity to try this whole democracy thing one more time. After a long and tense January and as the country and world watched Lady Gaga, J.Lo, Vice President Kamala Harris, and 46th President of the United States Joe Biden take the inauguration stage, a sigh of relief washed over the nation.
These feelings of hope and joy are all good and well, but the past few years have been just as sobering as they have been grueling. It would be a mistake to think today automatically amounts to any change bigger than a change of the guard unless a lot of work is put in to really take this country in a better direction. Luckily, this is the exact energy Senator Bernie Sanders brought to today’s event as he showed he was ready to put in the work. A picture of him wearing a blue mask and fluffy mittens with his legs crossed emerged as the day’s viral meme. He has things to do and places to be. His demeanor is unsentimental, unmoved, and largely unbothered.
Maybe your heart’s not totally into the enthusiasm surrounding today’s inauguration. Like Bernie, maybe you’re thinking about all the work that remains to be done. Senator Sanders looks like he’s reviewing a mental to-do list, his arms holding his things tightly so he doesn’t leave anything behind when he sprints to his next commitment as soon as this is all over. On Twitter, people are projecting an awkward-dad story onto Bernie. His outfit, his posture, his vibe — it’s very no bullshit and down-to-business.
His utilitarian mittens and humble mask have also been declared a “fashion statement” — the mittens were made by Vermont teacher Jen Ellis from repurposed wool and recycled plastic and his coat has been identified as another Vermont original. The memes bestow on him a doting energy you reserve for your favorite history teacher or your even your grandfather.
If you can believe it, Bernie Sanders was one of last year’s first viral meme moments when he humbly approached the camera asking us once again for our financial support. A year later, after his second run for president, he comes to us again, wearing the exact same coat, as the meme prince of the inauguration.