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Bernie's Mittens

Abby Zimet

 by Common Dreams

Famed, anonymous shot of Depression-era NYC construction guys at lunch

Biden's inauguration has left many Americans elated, with shiny, cautious hope we may yet save the Republic. Almost as many are excited about an improbable highlight of the event: The sight of Bernie Sanders, new chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and Republicans' worst nightmare, stoically hunched and bundled in his chair in now-familiar jacket and homespun, recycled mittens. The chill Bernie-ness of the image, along with one of him with a manilla envelope stuffed under his arm - "Just stopping at Joe's thing before heading to the post office" - has turned him into a meme superstar on Twitter, where hundreds of people have giddily photoshopped him Zelig-like into historic moments large and small. People loved him for "embodying the vibe of a nation," because "he has zero fucks left to give and I am here for it," because he has the look of a man who Nancy Pelosi has asked to reach out to fascists, because the mittens were a gift from a Vermont neighbor and teacher who twice recycles plastic bottles to make them, thus proving you can stay warm while not destroying the planet. Bernie's fellow-Jews loved his usual hamesha - down-to-earth - approach to life, offering a series of tribe-specific memes like,  "Shul starts at 7:45, I get here at 7:45" and "When the kids are taking forever to find the fucking afikoman." Late Thursday, Bernie had a deadpan Yankee response to the meme explosion. "It makes people aware that we make good mittens in Vermont," he said, adding, "We have some good coats as well."

"Hey Bernie, things are looking up."

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email:

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