Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AP
The memes were just one good part of what was a great day. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AP

Bernie Sanders, Leslie Knope and ‘Dear Joe’: The memes that made the Biden-Harris inauguration

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris may be the new leaders of the U.S., but Twitter remained the king of memes during their swearing-in.


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After a year filled with “doom scrolling,” the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris provided Twitter users with a much more joyful reason to keep the app open all day long. 

Even during times of unprecedented chaos, destruction, such as the insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6, Twitter finds a way to soothe our collective minds through humor, sarcasm and iconic memes. 

But as millions of Americans rejoiced in the start of a new era on Wednesday Jan. 20, the mood on Twitter was much lighter, and the memes were even more comforting.

Of all that surfaced, Senator Bernie Sanders got the most attention. Sanders showed up to the event looking “cozy and casual” in a taupe parka from the Vermont-based snowboarding company, Burton, paired with chunky, hand-knit mittens made from recycled wool. 

A photo of the Senator sitting alone abiding by proper social distancing protocol with his arms crossed against his body has turned into a meme that has been recreated numerous times in very creative ways. Many Twitter users were quick to notice that he wore this very same parka from a video he made last January, that also turned into a popular meme

Twitter users with basic graphic design skills wasted no time in juxtaposing Sander’s body into all sorts of photos referencing pop culture, such as cult classic movies, well-known historical photos and album covers. 

One user even gathered all the best ones and created a thread. 

Sander’s photo was placed onto the cover artwork for one of Paramore’s early albums, called “All We Know is Falling,” and the lead singer of the band, Hayley Williams, acknowledged it as her “favorite one.” 

Another set of popular memes made references to the sitcom Parks & Recreation, alluding to the main character, Leslie Knope, and her infatuation with guest star Joe Biden that was seen throughout many episodes. 

Twitter users posted screenshots from the show to express how they relate to Leslie Knope in their excitement over the Biden presidency. 

There were so many tweets about Knope and the show, that the official account for Parks & Recreation tweeted out: “Leslie Knope is doing great. Thanks for asking!” accompanied by a photo of the character lovingly looking up at Biden. 

One of the most entertaining tweets concerning the show was a photo of Knope lying on the ground, which referenced a scene from the pilot episode, where she accidentally falls into a pit. The tweet read: “BREAKING: blonde woman, identified as Leslie Knope, faints at Joe Biden’s inauguration.” 

In addition to the impeccable fashion and vibes that Senator Sanders brought to the celebration, and the references to Leslie Knope’s “fangirl” moments, the words “Dear Joe,” also trended on Twitter. 

After a lot of speculation, it was announced that former President Trump left a note for President Biden and Twitter displayed some of their best jokes as they brainstormed what the note could possibly contain. 

Many users joked that Trump would ask Biden to get his Twitter account back, or to pardon him. 

One user wrote: “Biden reading the letter Trump left him” and posted a video of a scene from the show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, where the character Dennis reads a campaign speech that his friend Charlie wrote for him, that is pure nonsense.  

All in all, it was a day many on and off social media had been waiting for for four years. And like with any other major event that has occurred since the dawn of Twitter: it remains undefeated.

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