xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Blubaugh: Who would’ve believed it? A politician was able to bring us all together | COMMENTARY

Given the discord and divide in our country, mostly due to politics, I wasn’t sure anyone, let alone an old, white guy and career politician, could unite us.

But I was wrong. After Wednesday’s inauguration, pretty much the entire country came together, Republicans and Democrats, conservative and liberal, inspired, all finally able to agree with each other thanks to one man.

Advertisement

No, not Joe Biden. Time will tell if he can make any inroads.

It was Bernie Sanders, normally a somewhat divisive figure due to his political leanings, who united America, on social media.

Advertisement
Advertisement

For a day or two, the left forgot about Trump, the right forgot about the election, we all forgot about our differences and the entire country just enjoyed memes featuring a cold, grumpy-looking Bernie seated at the inauguration, wearing a ridiculous pair of multi-colored mittens.

Initially it was that now-iconic image with some sort of clever caption added. But then a few creative types began using photo editing software to cut Bernie out of that environment and place him in the middle of a different one. Soon after, an enterprising website made it easy for anyone to cut and paste Bernie.

Suddenly he was Waldo, everywhere. From classic album covers to movie scenes to sporting events to works of art.

The newest member of the royal family. The fifth Beatle. The seventh cast member of “Friends.”

Advertisement

He was the fly on Mike Pence’s head. He was at Lambeau Field with cheese on his head. He turned up at The Last Supper.

He was a Bond villain, a starship captain and he was seen flying past Dorothy’s window in “The Wizard of Oz.”

He was on the subway, on the moon, in front of the pyramids, on a steel girder overlooking New York. He was sitting on a bench next to Forrest Gump. And Deadpool. And Patrick Mahomes.

And none of it seemed mean-spirited. Even the Vermont senator himself took it in good humor. People of all political stripes were able to share a chuckle.

Sure it’s one of those internet trends with a short shelf life, but is it unrealistic to believe if we can all come together, in spite of ourselves, over something small, then maybe we can come together on the big issues?

Of course it is. That’s the silly plot of “Rocky IV,” where the boxer knocks out Ivan Drago and the Cold War.

But, hey, maybe it’s a start?

Of course, Sanders would much rather have been taking the oath of office than off to the side, shivering at a social distance. A year or so ago, he was the Democratic front-runner and an even money bet to be the next president.

He’s probably serving his country better as an amusing, unifying meme. If anyone was going to have a chance at bringing the country together, even in a small way, it wasn’t going to be a polarizing figure like Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or the erstwhile president, Donald Trump.

Biden just might be able to make some progress on that front. He’s been talking about bipartisanship since before he was elected and used the word “unity” 10 times during his inaugural speech. He asked Americans to listen to what he has to say and then if they want to disagree and oppose his ideas, so be it. That’s the way it is supposed to work, though not the way it has been working in recent years.

Clearly, Americans have ideological differences. But I’m not sure those differences are as great among the masses as at the peak of the political food chain. Much of the disagreement, and rancor, comes from the top down, turning into rallying cries as we fight each other on social media and in real life.

Sometimes people’s positions on issues change just because their favorite (or least favorite) politician’s position changes. Look for school reopening to follow this blueprint to some degree with Biden taking a stance more in line with what Trump and the Republicans had been calling for. Some on both sides will likely do an about-face.

We’ll see whether politicians can resume working together, whether red and blue residents can get back to dealing with each other in a civil manner.

If so, give at least a little credit to a certain curmudgeonly septuagenarian we all briefly got behind. So give yourself a hand, Bernie, even if will be muffled by those massive mittens.

Bob Blubaugh is the editor of the Carroll County Times. His column appears Sundays. Email him at bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement