There Senator Bernie Sanders sat. At the inauguration for President Joe Biden, sitting alone, social- distanced, and cold, bundled in a parka and a striking pair of mittens. He told CBS, “In Vermont, we know something about the cold. And we’re not so concerned about good fashion. We just want to keep warm.” Veteran news photographer Brendan Smialowski snapped a photo of the senator just sitting there, and it happened. Bernie’s meme broke the Internet.
The Senator was the star of the memes, but so were those mittens, made by Jen Ellis, a second-grade teacher who lives in Essex Junction, Vt. Ellis cuts up old wool sweaters to make the gloves, lining them with fleece made of recycled plastic. Each pair takes about an hour to make. She sent a pair to Senator Sanders and that that was that. In 2019, the mittens made an appearance on the campaign trail when the senator was running for the Democratic presidential nomination. People mentioned them, but it was nothing like this.
Sanders is turning all the memes into help for low income senior citizens in his home state of Vermont by selling sweatshirts featuring the photo. All the proceeds from the $45 shirt will go to Meals on Wheels programs in the state. The $45 black crewneck sweatshirt is made in the USA and union printed. One would expect no less from Sanders. The sweatshirt is currently sold out “due to overwhelming demand,” according to the campaign store website, which notes it could take up to eight weeks to receive one. While you’re waiting, enjoy the memes!