By Jerry Mooney
Bernie Sanders and I have more in common than our shared democratic-socialistic values. Although I learned about our common trait this morning, this overlap started when I was in Costa Rica several years ago. I had my hair braided in an attempt to eschew my conservative look in the Mediterranean landscape. I don’t mean a ponytail weaved together in the back, but an intricate display of many tiny interlaced locks dangling from my noggin. This hairstyle is not even a little bit similar to Bernie Sander’s hair, so why do I feel it’s something we have in common? Bernie and I share egalitarian hair. What?
When I came home, my friends were somewhat surprised, my family shook their heads and people were often uncomfortable or fascinated by my new do. This wasn’t the most interesting reaction, though. In the two months following my return home to a conservative state with a country culture, I was pulled over nine times by the police. NINE! Not once was I cited for an infraction, because I was never doing anything outside of the law. But my hair was considered probable cause.
My hair has since dreaded and become somewhat of a symbol. To many it conveys meaning that doesn’t reflect my personal views, but I consistently gain insight into how we are judged by our appearance. With this understanding of the power of non-conformist style, I am fascinated with a this quote about Bernie Sanders hair, "It makes perfect sense for him not to comb his hair," says Lara Brown, Director of the Political Management Program at George Washington University. "His personal style, which tends towards the disheveled, reflects his anti-materialist, egalitarian beliefs."
This quote seems true. There is little about Bernie Sanders that deviates from an egalitarian expression. He battles Wall Street and takes on corporate giants. His political stances are what make me such a supporter, but I love that he doesn’t look like a plastic mockup of person. I personally applaud his unkempt style. Even if he is doing it because he once woke up late and later embraced the style, doesn’t matter. To me, I personally see how abstract appearance cause people discomfort. And even if this isn’t a political statement, it is valuable. As the potential leader of the free world, it’s good to know that we don’t have to be carbon copies.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license
Jerry Mooney is co-founder and managing editor of Zenruption and the author of History Yoghurt and the Moon. He studied at the University of Munich and Lewis and Clark College where he received his BA in International Affairs and West European Studies. He has recently taught Language and Communications at a small, private college and owned various businesses, including an investment company that made him a millionaire before the age of 40. Jerry is committed to zenrupting the forces that block social, political and economic justice. He can also be found on Twitter@JerryMooney