Today is a big day. It’s actually the biggest day, from a ceremonial perspective, for our democracy. But for Bernie Sanders, it is simply Wednesday, and he has things to do. When Senator Sanders (D-Vt.) entered the stands ahead of the inauguration of President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. and Vice-President Kamala Devi Harris, which we have to assume is the third or fourth thing on his list for today, he was wearing his everyday coat and carrying a stack of mail, as one does. Sure, Lady Gaga wore a ball gown, and J.Lo dressed like an angel for her “Let’s Get Loud” Woodie Guthrie remix. But Bernie is neither a glamorous pop diva nor a hat-removing country gentleman like Garth Brooks. He’s from Vermont, and as such, he has long been known as the only person who comes to the inauguration dressed appropriately for January. Although his lack of a hat remains worrisome to me specifically, his normcore representation inspired a fresh crop of gleeful Bernie memes — one of the internet’s less cursed genres of memes — so things are already looking up!
But his entrance was merely a harbinger of vibes to come. He eventually found his socially distanced seat and continued to provide a grounding, “Here on my lunch break for my grandsons’ recital” presence on the National Mall.
If you’re looking through these thinking, Wow, this Bernie meme looks familiar, it’s because he is, in fact, wearing the same coat he wore in one of his 2020 campaign ads, the one that became the Bernie meme in which he “is once again asking you.” Because he can’t just be buying a new coat every year; he’s not the queen of England.
The one aspect of this that sets it apart from previous Bernie memes is the patterned mittens that take center stage here. If you thought they were meant to communicate some kind of decadent, festive choice, rest assured that these are simply the mittens he always wears. They’re made by a teacher from recycled water bottles, because Vermont.
Has there ever been a more Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders? No. This is it. This is the Bernie.