The Bernie Meme

Can we talk about how Bernie Sanders has become internet gold this week?

In case you missed it, a photographer captured this basic image of Bernie at the inauguration. It was cold and Bernie had come prepared to stay warm in a heavy coat and handmade mittens that were a gift from a New Jersey school teacher.

He looks crabby here but the photographer says he really just looked cold. He also stood out, appearing surprisingly casual and comfortable in a sea of more formally dressed attendees.

Nonetheless, the internet got ahold of the image and generated something completely unexpected. He has been photoshopped into every imaginable scenario from sea to shining sea. He’s been spotted at Niagara Falls, at the the Grand Canton and at the Rutherford B. Hayes historic site here in Ohio. The pop culture references have been fabulous as he’s popped up in everything from Mayberry to a Bob Ross painting with his “happy little mittens.”

Even local businesses like antique stores and book shops have their own version of the Bernie.

Joann Fabrics had a fabulous take on it too as they hock their supplies to those wishing to make their own mittens.

But none are as perfect as this Big Bang Theory reference.

It’s funny. Right?

But it’s more than just funny pictures on the internet.

Hear me out.

My Facebook feed is packed with a bizarre combination of people who believe a vast array fact and fiction. From the left to the far right, I can point to people who don’t agree on even the most basic concepts like who won the election and whether the insurrectionists are heroes or criminals.

But they’re all sharing the Bernie memes!

The Bernie meme has become some kind of weird unifier.

And why not? We all have that cranky grandpa or uncle who wears his thirty year old jacket and looks cranky everywhere he goes.

We all know a Bernie!!!

(I hope you read that in a Bernie yell!)

And we can all get behind the silliness because we just need something to make us laugh.

Scout even got in on the action.

Who knew that we just needed a practical New Englander to don some homemade mittens and slump on a metal folding chair to curb the feuds as we all giggle over the ridiculous?

And it is ridiculous but that’s what makes it fun.

In case you’re interested, Bernie is selling a commemorative sweatshirt and all the proceeds will benefit Vermont Meals On Wheels, an excellent cause. Click here to see that or to order.

Suffragettes And Election Day

This picture is a statue in Nashville’s Centennial Park. It celebrates the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave white women the right to vote. These suffragettes serve as a reminder that our right to take part in the electoral process is as a hard fought win and should not be taken for granted.

We live in a world that likes labels. We have been trained to put people in boxes or, more accurately, to choose sides.

Republican or Democrat.

Caucasian or Hispanic.

Cats or dogs.

Coke or Pepsi.

Every survey wants us to check the box that best describes ourselves. Every politician wants to villainize the other side.

You’re with me or you’re against me is the message I receive loud and clear from many of my Facebook friends.

Civility is a lost art. Tolerance for people who are different than us is no longer important.

People have become so preoccupied with criticizing anyone who looks or believes differently that we have forgotten something important.

Despite what divides us, we all are human and we all are Americans.

So whatever happens on this Election Day, I hope that we all can remember that.

Whether your candidate wins or loses, I hope that we can stop searching for the things that divide, stop giving platforms to liars and begin looking for the truth, for the things that unite us as humans and as citizens of this country.

Be kind to your neighbors. Be kind to people who are different than you. Give us a chance to heal.

To my American friends, if you haven’t done so, please exercise your right to vote. And to my international friends, if you are praying people and see fit, please pray for the soul of this nation.