The Bernie Meme Traveled the World This Week. Why Not North Carolina?

Bernie meme 1

All due respect to Zion Williamson and the shoe blowout heard round the world, Bernie is the story here. Everyone else is freaking out. Not Bernie. (Original by Robert Willett of The News & Observer)

By Billy Ball

January 22, 2021

A mittened Bernie Sanders meme was all the rage during Inauguration Week. So we brought the shivering socialist home to NC. 

Bernie Sanders has been everywhere in the last 24 hours. Why not North Carolina too?

The Vermont senator and former presidential candidate made meme magic during President Joe Biden’s inauguration this week by, um, just sitting there.

Memes can mean many things to many people. And Sanders donning a pair of mittens and just chilling at the big DC event apparently means a lot of things to a lot of different people.

Was he grumpy (dunno)? Was he cold (almost certainly, it was cold as hell)? Does it matter? Nope. 

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Creative types the world over have put Bernie in every conceivable place by now. He’s taken the throne of Westeros. Replaced Baby Yoda. Chillaxed with Forrest Gump. Even frequented a tavern in Middle Earth.  

At Cardinal & Pine, we wanted to see everyone’s favorite shivering socialist in the Tar Heel state, including the Zion Williamson meme above, taken from a Robert Willett shot in The News & Observer.

We had some good ideas. We had some bad ones. But here’s the pick of the litter. Some of them are subtle. Wait for it.

Bernie knew a smash hit when he heard it. Back in 2001, NC rapper Petey Pablo took the world by storm with “Raise Up,” his ode to all things North Carolina, including a delightfully obscure laundry list of NC counties. But Bernie took the party in stride.

Bernie meme 2

Sorry undergrads in Chapel Hill. Bernie makes sure to card the UNC students on their way in to Sup Dogs on Franklin Street.

When North Carolina teachers marched to the state’s legislative building, Bernie sympathized.

Bernie meme 6

Charlotte landed the NASCAR Hall of Fame back in 2010. But the real catch? Getting Bernie to sit in and talk motorsports, something Vermont knows absolutely nothing about.

Bernie meme 4

Everyone remembers UNC basketball player Danny Green posterizing Duke’s hapless Greg Paulus back in 2008. But they don’t remember Bernie taking it in cooly. 

Bernie meme 5

Everyone loves a good roller coaster. But Bernie seems unmoved by all the excitement at Charlotte’s Carowinds.

Make your own and share them with us!

(Original images via the Associated Press and Getty Images. Alterations by Cardinal & Pine.)


  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.

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