Bernie Sanders delights Inauguration audience by simply being his adorably authentic self

If Bernie Sanders isn't the realest dude to ever serve in Congress, I don't know who is.

We got to witness Bernie's down-to-earth, let's-get-to-work, cut-the-crap personality in all its visual glory at Joe Biden's inauguration today. While pundits fawned over the sharp and colorful stylings of the attendees, Uncle Bernie sauntered looking like he was on his way to run some errands and decided to stop in for a sec to see the new president sworn in.

Clad in what is probably his one winter coat and a pair of hand-knitted mittens, he looked perfectly comfortable, even as he stood out from the crowd of formal, designer coats and gloves. Ah, Bernie. You're just so...Bernie. It's a big part of why the guy has such a dedicated fan base. What you see is what you get, and he makes no apologies for being exactly who he is at all times.

But today of all days, as the nation waited with bated breath to witness the transfer of power from President Trump to President Biden, especially in the wake of an attempted violent coup and under the specter of an ongoing pandemic, Bernie's Bernieness came as a particularly welcome delight. This event could not have been more serious or weighty in its significance, and yet along comes Bernie reminding us that we're all just human beings here, none of us more or less important than the other.

His look launched a thousand memes that provided some needed comic relief for the day. I mean, how could it not?


"Bernie dressed like the inauguration is on his to-do list today but ain't his whole day." That pretty much nails it. "Inauguration? Check. Post office? Check. Do I have time to hit Home Depot? Well, I don't like to drive in the dark so we'll see."

He was undoubtedly happy to be there, but it's easy to read his body language as "Are we done yet? I don't have time for this hullabaloo. We've got work to do getting healthcare to the people."

Some got creative with where they imagined Bernie to be, such as showing up early to the movies.

Some started photoshopping him into various places, like the park or the DMV.

An everyman superhero, perhaps?

How about riding the subway, chilling in his headphones? Perfection.

If any of that makes you feel a little jealous, no worries. You too can look like you attended Joe Biden's inauguration on your way to the post office.

CBS News chatted with Bernie after the inauguration and asked him about the coat and mittens that got everyone talking. Naturally, he explained the practicality of it all. "You know, in Vermont we dress warm. We know something about the cold, and we're not so concerned about good fashion. We want to keep warm, and that's what I did today."

That sentiment was appreciated by other New Englanders who touted the shout out to "our middle class New England tradition of having exactly one heavy winter coat, worn to both formal and casual events."

The mittens actually have a sweet story behind them. They were given to him by a teacher from his home state when he was on the campaign trail a couple of years ago. And they're made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles, because of course they are.

You don't have to agree with all of Bernie Sanders' policy positions to agree that the man is as authentic and transparent as they come. And you don't have to agree with the fashion choice of showing up to a presidential inauguration in a parka and knitted mittens to acknowledge that a guy who does just that isn't trying to prove anything to anybody.

Keep being you, Bernie. The breath of fresh air you bring to our national politics will always be welcome.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less