Wednesday, January 20 was a momentous day for the country: the inauguration of Joe Biden. And while the United States is still dramatically — perhaps irrevocably — politically divided, there was one unifying image that quickly became a meme, spreading across the internet with a kind of giddy glee. The photo: Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, looking thoroughly unimpressed, bundled up in his now-iconic jacket as well as a medical mask and mittens.
The internet was quick to jump on the memetic bandwagon, with people photoshopping Senator Sanders in everything from classic art to popular films. And the Portland restaurant industry wasn’t going to sit this out, photoshopping the Democratic Socialist into their Instagram pages and Twitter accounts. After a very, very difficult year for the industry, it made sense as a kind of absurdist relief. For a moment, all of us were Mr. Sanders — exhausted, cold, and just wanting to move on with things.
Senator Sanders was reportedly seen waiting for Radar to open today, though it’s unclear when the snow happened.
Likewise, Thai fried chicken icon Hat Yai was visited by the senator. They could not be reached for comment if Senator Sanders was a fan of the fried chicken and roti special, or more of a fan of the spicy ground pork dish.
Eem found the man enjoying the heated, socially distant outdoor dining booths.
Cheese and Crack had fun with the meme format as well.
When it comes to soul food, the senator knows exactly where to visit in Portland: Kee’s Loaded Kitchen offers generous platters of her incredible cooking.
The senator was also clearly excited about St. John’s the Garrison’s to-go cocktail menu.
According to neighborhood bar Mad Hanna, the Garrison wasn’t the only place he visited for a drink.
Is Bernie a tiny pizza table man? Late-night pizza chain Sizzle Pie says, “yes.”
Ever a man of the people, Senator Sanders wasn’t just content to spend time in the city, but also made it out to some of our surrounding areas like McMinnville for some pizza.
Of course, it couldn’t be a social media trend without commentary from Justin Hintze, owner of fried chicken cart Jojo and its iconoclastic Instagram account. Hintze, a self-appointed arbiter of internet humor, declared the meme to be over.
kudos to the bernie sitting meme, it had longer staying power than most memes (it's hereby banned because unfunny people are using it)— jucksten jojo LLC (@jojo_pdx) January 21, 2021
However, despite his declaration, Hintze was spotted hours later re-tweeting an image of Senator Sanders outside of his food truck, writing “lmao” [laughing my ass off] to express his humor.
When asked about the apparent hypocrisy between his statement and his actions, Hintze told Eater PDX, “I’m a raging egocentric freak and the tweet was about me. So ya, I loved it.”