It’s not every day that you get to inaugurate the 46th president of the United States, the first female vice-president of color, or attend the inauguration, period. But for Bernie Sanders, it’s also not often he gets enough time in the middle of the day to run errands and take care of his mail either.
The former presidential hopeful has drawn side eyes for turning up to the inauguration day sans formal attire – instead looking like he was stopping by between doing his laundry and going to the post office. Wearing a winter jacket, oversized mittens and holding a manila envelope, the Vermont senator at least gets top marks for one thing: “absolutely crushing Vermont dadcore”.
But for those wanting to get the Sanders’ look, it could be difficult to get hold of his mittens – those were a gift from a teacher in Vermont, Jen Ellis, according to local press. The mittens are very on-brand for Sanders, who popularized the Green New Deal in the US, as they are made with wool repurposed from sweaters and fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.
(Much to Ellis’ surprise, after she gifted Sanders the mittens, he wore them on the campaign trail for two years straight. At least his fingers won’t be feeling the Bern in today’s sub-zero weather.)
Sanders is no stranger to becoming a meme – indeed, a video of him asking supporters for money in 2020 led to numerous jokes made at his expense.
Luckily for those who know the meme well, Sanders turned up at the inauguration wearing that same Burton jacket – he’s thrifty like that! – leading to a slew of new memes written in the style in which the Vermont senator usually asks for money.
“I am once again asking for a space heater,” said one. (My own take involves imagining Sanders at the post office shortly after speeches today: “I am respectfully asking you to have this sent by Thursday,” he will ask, handing over the manila envelope.)
Sanders has often been ribbed for putting the practical over the ceremonial – abstaining from mingling at events, dallying in niceties and, it would appear, even bothering to upgrade from the $1 mask he bought at the bodega last March.
But others find his Grandma energy quite endearing. It takes some resolve – or obliviousness – to care so little about sartorial conventions that not even such a historic day would drive you to make an effort. Perhaps not caring is the new chic.