I am once again asking for your Bernie Sanders memes

The internet was quick to make a meme of Senator Sanders’ infamous inauguration look.

“Bernie dressed like the inauguration is on his to-do list today but it ain’t his whole day,” user @MsReeezy tweeted in the early morning of January 6th. The tweet garnered 947.8k likes and 105.2k retweets. From there, the image of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in a brown parka and recycled wool mittens spread throughout the internet. 

The image of Sander sitting seemingly uninterested at the inauguration has been photoshopped into virtually every situation possible. Among the most popular are of Bernie sitting in a subway and on the moon, but there are a plethora of other bizarre images. 

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sanders’ look on Jan. 6 were his wool mittens. The mittens were gifted to him by Vermont elementary school teacher, Jen Ellis. The mittens are made of cut up ices of old wool sweaters and are sown together and lined with recycled plastic. Ellis initially made the mittens in 2016. 

“When he lost the bid for the Democratic nominations in 2016, I was really heartbroken for him because I felt like he probably wouldn’t run again … I thought, ‘I’d like to make him a pair of mittens.’ And I did. “I totally remember the night I did it. I was thinking to myself, ‘Is this crazy? I don’t even know this guy.’ But I wanted to make them for him, so I did,” Ellis said in an interview for The Washington Times

After Sander’s look went viral, Ellis began receiving hundreds of emails asking for mittens, and while she was unable to fulfill all the orders, she did make an additional three pairs and auctioned them off. The total cost for these pairs was over $9,000 total, and each pair will go to a different cause. Outright Vermont, a non-profit organization that supports Vermont LGBTQ+; Passion 4 Paws Vermont, a dog rescue group; and Ellis’s daughter’s college fund are the three causes receiving money from the auctions. 

Additionally, Sanders embraced the fame he garnered and almost immediately began producing merchandise with the image taken by Agence France-Presse. The collection is titled “Chairman Sanders” and includes different shirt and sweatshirt styles. According to the Associated Press, the merchandise sold out in 30 minutes and was restocked the following weekend only to sell out again on Monday. 

Aside from the official merchandise, many independent artists began making dolls, stickers, drawings, paintings and sculptures with their own style. The products were showcased on social media platforms such as TikTok, Etsy and Twitter. All in all, Sander’s viral mittens and image have raised nearly $2 million for charity. 

While unconventional in appearance, Sanders’ inauguration outfit not only stood out in a crowd of people wearing designer clothes, Sanders used the attention to raise money and awareness for causes in need of help.

The outfit was practical, sustainable and weather appropriate and I will once again be hoping that Sanders sports a similar look in future events.