An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
BAD NEWS ON THE Bernie Sanders apparel front. The mittens are sold out and so are his ‘Bernie’ sweatshirts.
Who’d have thought a photo of the venerable senator taken at Joe Biden’s inaugural would go viral? In case you’re catching up, the picture shows him sitting, arms and legs folded, socially distanced and masked, watching the ceremony and trying to keep warm.
He wears a practical beige parka and knitted mittens. No fancy overcoat and leather gloves for Bernie.
He’s been photo-shopped into hundreds of different settings, from hockey games to the opera, to sitting on the beach with David Suzuki and — one of my favourites — posing with the Spice Girls. Bernie, of course, is Old Spice.
There isn’t a famous attraction, sport or historical event that Bernie and his mittens haven’t visited online in the past few days. The mittens, it turns out, were gifted to him by an admiring constituent, and the woman who made them doesn’t have any more for sale despite a huge demand.
But Bernie, bless him, jumped in to fill the gap, quickly coming up with ‘Bernie’ sweatshirts complete with the photo of him and his mittens. Even at $45 US apiece they’ve sold out, with all proceeds going to charity.
There are several important things to note about this. First, in a time of great societal stress, Bernie and his mittens have given us a good laugh. Second, it shows politicians can have a sense of humour about themselves.
And it proves we can laugh with seniors instead of deprecating them. It shows that social media can be used in a kind and humorous way instead of to spew poison. So, to all the trolls out there, you might want to consider just once posting something nice, or funny, instead of the bitter, nasty material you usually spread around.
Don’t forget, yesterday was National Compliment Day. So just think of Bernie and his mittens.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.