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I am once again asking you to apply an extremely versatile photo of Bernie Sanders to a multitude of situations in your life—because, yet again, the Vermont senator has gone viral for merely being his 79-year-old self. Sanders' latest meme-able event arrived almost exactly a year after his last (opens in new tab), the still-applicable "I am once again asking you" moment from a late 2019 fundraising video. Upon his arrival at the Jan. 20 inauguration (opens in new tab) of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (opens in new tab) as the nation's new president and vice president, Sanders plopped down in a folding chair far away from the rest of the audience (social distancing king!), burrowed into his coat and cozy-looking knit mittens, and waited for the festivities to begin. And thus, a meme was born.
As with previous widely circulated photos of Sanders, the most relatable thing about this snapshot is the septuagenarian's constant air of no-nonsense grumpiness and a general vibe of being immediately over whatever is happening if it doesn't directly pertain to his legislative goals (opens in new tab)—in the same way that, say, you might be incredibly over a party if you're just not in a partying mood. That vibe, plus Sanders' admirable dedication to COVID protocols, just might qualify this incredible photo as not only the first truly great meme of 2021, but also a perfect encapsulation of this particular moment in history.
In an added bonus, viewers have noticed that Sanders appears to be wearing the exact same Burton coat in his 2021 meme as he was in the fundraising video that soon became his 2020 "I am once again asking you" meme. That relatively casual parka (especially compared to the stunning designer coats (opens in new tab) donned by pretty much everyone else at the inauguration) and the manilla folder Sanders was clutching throughout the ceremony also contributed to a general sense that, as one Twitter user wrote, "Bernie dressed like the inauguration is on his to do list today but ain't his whole day."
a person only needs one good coat https://t.co/TYtoS0Hb8hJanuary 20, 2021
Bernie dressed like the inauguration is on his to do list today but ain’t his whole day. pic.twitter.com/wCRyoxU3V2January 20, 2021
As for the mittens, according to BuzzFeed News reporter Ruby Cramer on Twitter, they were gifted to Sanders by a Vermont teacher who made them out of repurposed wool sweaters and recycled plastic bottles. If you had "Bernie Sanders becomes a sustainable fashion icon" on your 2021 bingo card, go ahead and cross it out.
Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles. pic.twitter.com/ErLr29lY2tJanuary 20, 2021
And now, without any further ado, please enjoy the best applications of Sanders' inauguration vibe:
vibing pic.twitter.com/FSCKVvFIUvJanuary 21, 2021
This is the best one I’ve seen so far fwiw pic.twitter.com/kd3fOgyyCbJanuary 21, 2021
Omg. pic.twitter.com/kyf9holXKwJanuary 21, 2021
Not me. Us. pic.twitter.com/ec7XgfEl7bJanuary 21, 2021
“This could’ve been an email” pic.twitter.com/kn68z6eDhYJanuary 20, 2021
Nighthawks at the Diner#BernieSanders pic.twitter.com/EAViyf9quXJanuary 21, 2021
waiting for my mom to finish shopping pic.twitter.com/RBIbfOhNGBJanuary 20, 2021
bernie absolutely crushing vermont dadcore pic.twitter.com/fWp4dX5Xe2January 20, 2021
me at parties https://t.co/ni9koHfnjHJanuary 20, 2021
Out on the town having the time of my life with a bunch of friends pic.twitter.com/Qu7UpVTKgQJanuary 20, 2021
#QueensGambit: Season 2 ♟️@BernieSanders @anyataylorjoy pic.twitter.com/zWYh414x9OJanuary 21, 2021
Bernie Sanders: “How long are these games? My feet are chilly.” pic.twitter.com/pGcInw8GpvJanuary 20, 2021
Can’t believe Bernie just dipped and came up to NYC pic.twitter.com/iHI1TeIUMlJanuary 20, 2021
EXACTLYJanuary 20, 2021
"I am once again asking for a space heater." https://t.co/2PmfOWFGYEJanuary 20, 2021
Bernie giving teacher on recess duty vibes. pic.twitter.com/VRTh09g6QLJanuary 20, 2021
Everyone else: wearing giant, dressy black and grey coatsBernie: This is my good jacket, and it keeps me warm. I’m wearing it pic.twitter.com/fZk9I90iVwJanuary 20, 2021
Bernie like “I’m here ain’t I??” pic.twitter.com/8wc0tQITa0January 20, 2021
In Jewish yoga this pose is: waiting for my wife at Loehmann's pic.twitter.com/Qik7wsZ0adJanuary 20, 2021
tired of being caught in the tangle of my government pic.twitter.com/a9E4T2wxD9January 20, 2021
Ding! Ding! #cozy #mittens pic.twitter.com/vgrX2NTms9January 21, 2021
Bernie brought some mail to open during the inauguration in case things got boring. pic.twitter.com/A76Vh0SJETJanuary 20, 2021
replace every confederate monument with this statue of bernie pic.twitter.com/B6UzpebKo5January 20, 2021
Bernie right now: pic.twitter.com/UcOhUnOm9KJanuary 20, 2021
bernie googling “who is arod” then watching a home run highlight video on youtube pic.twitter.com/UmWnvtPR2uJanuary 20, 2021
Bernie Sanders, Steal his look pic.twitter.com/c4Hw48aCUuJanuary 20, 2021
I will never forget Bernie honoring our middle class New England tradition of having exactly one heavy winter coat, worn to both formal and casual events pic.twitter.com/OrRHJeAS2PJanuary 20, 2021
Bernie with zero sartorial consideration. Just full Vermont grandfather pic.twitter.com/hCmf14AeZgJanuary 20, 2021
Make no mistake, this is how Bernie would’ve shown up to his own inauguration as well. pic.twitter.com/IODzoGL1gJJanuary 20, 2021
Every US inauguration gets the fashion icon it deserves. pic.twitter.com/VZE4mKUw6RJanuary 20, 2021
#BernieSanders uno de los protagonistas de un histórico #InaugurationDay De todas las composiciones esta es, sin duda, una de las mejores pic.twitter.com/NQFV4EZrUIJanuary 21, 2021
Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.
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