Watch Bernie Sanders Interview a Pair of Mall Punks in 1988
Bernie talked to punks? You better believe it. And at a mall!
Even back in the '80s, current U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders showed his willingness to interact with members of the community that some might see as different. Check out a 1988 clip of Sanders interviewing a pair of punks — dressed in all black — in the middle of a shopping mall.
The segment stems from a cable access TV series the politician undertook after he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981, as Mother Jones pointed out a few years ago. Called Bernie Speaks, an archive of the show's footage is available via the city's CCTV Center for Media & Democracy.
But it's this particular episode — the one that had Sanders stopping to interview two punks from Burlington and South Burlington — that's now captured the internet's attention. Indeed, the timing seems appropriate as we enter the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses.
Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.
In the clip, the two interviewees, Vermont mall patrons Michelle and Mike, share their thoughts about identity and society with Sanders.
After the host focuses on Michelle's wild hairdo and black lipstick, the interviewee defends her look and ethos as "to heck with society." She continues, "It's just basically saying that you can do whatever you wanna do, and it doesn't matter. I can be 'punk rock,' if you want to say. I don't like the way society's run."
Her punk partner echoes those thoughts. "It shows the way you feel, you know?" Mike explains of the pair's outfits. "People wear black because they're not feeling too good about what's going on around them. Some of the stuff that goes on in society is basically baloney."
Interestingly, the channel recently caught up with Mike (full name Mike Blair) in a retrospective look at the now-iconic interview. See that video after the original footage below.
Bernie Sanders Interviews Punks in 1988 (Excerpt)
'Bernie Speaks' Mall Punk Interviewee: Then and Now
Top 25 Punk Albums of All Time