Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

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:

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Amazon Employees Hold First-Ever Work Stoppage in Air Freight Division

"If Amazon can afford to pay its CEO $214 million last year it can afford to give their workers a $5-an-hour raise and a safe workplace," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Julia Conley ·

Lula Holds 12-Point Lead Over Bolsonaro as Brazil's Presidential Race Heats Up

The leftist champion's double-digit lead in the polls comes amid fears that the far-right incumbent's baseless accusations of fraud and threats to stay in office no matter the outcome could lead to violence.

Kenny Stancil ·

'We Will Vote This Dirty Deal Down,' Tlaib Says of Manchin's Oil-Friendly Side Agreement

"We sure as hell don't owe Joe Manchin anything now," said the Michigan progressive.

Jake Johnson ·

Dr. Oz Derided Over Ad Attacking Fetterman's Support for 'Free Healthcare'

"What's radical," responded a top aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders, "is 338,000 Americans dying during the pandemic because they could not afford for-profit healthcare."

Jake Johnson ·

Despite Housing Crisis, Mississippi May Return Up to Millions in Federal Rent Aid to DC

"For them to suggest people like me aren't working? It's a slap in the face," said one woman affected by the end of the pandemic assistance program. "It's very insulting and degrading."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo