Sen. Bernie Sanders suddenly seems to be everywhere. In little over a day, the Vermont senator has movie cameos, appeared in classic paintings, visited New York and joined the crew of he starship Enterprise — all thanks to a photo from President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The original photo was taken by photographer Brendan Smialowski for Getty Images and showed Sanders sitting socially distanced with his legs crossed and wearing a face mask, wool mittens and a brown winter coat. (The mittens were given to Sanders in 2016 by Jen Ellis, a second grade teacher in Essex Junction, Vermont. Ellis made the mittens with repurposed wool from old sweaters and fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.)
It was this practical attire for a freezing day that quickly turned Sanders into an internet meme yet again. It didn’t take long for the photo, and innumerable photoshopped versions of it, to go viral on social media.
This isn’t the first time a meme of Sanders has gone viral (and it probably won’t be the last). Individuals were quick to notice that the brown winter coat Sanders had on during the inauguration was the same one he wore in a 2019 fundraising video that sparked the “I am once again asking” meme.
— Insurectile Disfunction. (@Amanda_Kerri) January 20, 2021
The ubiquitous image is quickly inspiring other products, too. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame is taking pre-orders for a Sanders bobblehead and Raygun is selling shirts with an illustration of the now-famous pose.
Sanders, as might be expected, doesn’t seem fazed by his new meme.
“It makes people aware that we make good mittens in Vermont,” Sanders said.
“We have some good coats, as well,” he added.
I’m once again asking you to consider buying a t-shirt.
— RAYGUN (@RAYGUNshirts) January 21, 2021
Meme Sanders even found his way into photos from Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Marion.
In the early afternoon, Sanders was spotted sitting outside the Marion Public Library.
Stop by our Uptown Library today to grab Teen Take-And-Make Kits, Kid's Take-And-Make Winter Craft Kits, pick up your holds or get a Surprise Me! Bundle.
We promise you won't have to wait outside!
Sanders then made his way back to Cedar Rapids to stop by the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library.
The snowy weather (obviously) didn’t deter Sanders from stopping by the Indian Creek Nature Center, where he took a moment to sit down on a bench before hitting the trails.
All bundled up and ready to hit the trails!
PS – we sell woven goods in our Creekside Shop if you want to shop the look! 😉
Sanders also found his way indoors and into booth at Pancheros. The Vermont senator, remaining masked and mittened, missed out on the meal.
When your friends didn't tell you they're stopping at Pancheros but you already ate 😕 pic.twitter.com/RhRYIpzmf4
— Pancheros (@pancheros) January 21, 2021
Don’t have photoshopping skills or time but have an idea of where Sanders should go next? Nick Sawhney, a grad student at New York University, created a website that lets people put the viral image of Sanders on any Google Street View image — including in front of the Little Village office.