Unless you do everything in your power to stray away from the Internet, you’ve probably seen the endless memes of the US. Sen. Bernie Sanders sitting with his arms and legs crossed at the recent inauguration, wearing recycled wool mittens, an ordinary brown parka, and a face mask.
Sanders was simply doing what he usually does, which is staying out of the spotlight, but something about his ‘unimpressed’ disposition and his contrast to the rest of the glitzy outfits that could be seen there had social media users going crazy.
With a good sense of humor, Sanders and his wife Jane turned the meme into an opportunity to support local charities in his home state of Vermont by creating a variety of so-called “Chairman Sanders” merchandise, which were sold on his campaign website and included T-shirts, sweatshirts, and stickers. The merchandise was a hit, with the first batch selling out in less than 30 minutes. In five days, sales reached a whopping $1.8 million, with all the proceeds being donated to charitable organizations in Vermont.
“Jane and I were amazed by all the creativity shown by so many people over the last week, and we’re glad we can use my internet fame to help Vermonters in need,” Sanders said in a written statement.
As for the mittens Sanders was wearing, they were made by Vermont elementary school teacher Jen Ellis, who gave them as a gift to Sanders. Ellis has received over 5,000 emails from people who want to buy the ‘Bernie’ mittens, but much to the disappointment of Ellis’ new fans, she said her teaching schedule keeps her too busy to make mittens all the time.