screenshot via Bernie Speaks/YouTube
The internet is mostly a depressing hellscape full of nightmarish Furbys and soul-crushing brand Twitter accounts, but every now and then, it unearths something wholly beautiful and pure for us all. And today, that something is Bernie Sanders's forgotten TV show from the 1980s.On Friday, Politico dug up a massive trove of old footage from the show, Bernie Speaks with the Community, which followed the then-Vermont-mayor on various adventures around the town of Burlington to—yes, you guessed it—talk to the community. Thankfully, that community included a bunch of late-80s punks at the Burlington Square Mall who rail against the establishment as a surprisingly jovial young Bernie nods along. If you've ever wondered what The Decline of Western Civilization would've been like if it was hosted by a blazer-wearing Bernie Sanders, well, wonder no longer!
Bernie starts off by complimenting the punk duo's style, calling their hair "interesting" and their black lipstick "very interesting," because he seems to be at a loss for more accurate descriptors."Let me ask you the obvious question, alright?" he says. "What does your dress mean? What does it say?""It's just basically saying, 'to heck with society, to heck with law and order,'" Michelle says, later adding that she doesn't like "the way society's run" and that "everybody's plastic.""People wear black because you don't feel too good about what's going on around them," Mike adds. "Some of the stuff that's going on in society is basically baloney. Everybody's always complaining about depression and such. Well, that's going to happen in a democracy. It's natural. Because if you have a democracy, there's going to be capitalists."Bernie then asks the pair what kind of society they'd "like to see.""I'm kind of an anarchist, but communism doesn't bother me," Mike says. "But when [communism] goes so far as cutting down people's freedom of speech, I don't feel that's right.""I'm kind of an anarchist, too," Michelle adds, "but I don't believe in total anarchy, because then we'd kill ourselves." Bernie finally thanks them for their "forthright views" and the punks wander away to loiter by a pretzel stand. The whole thing is glorious.There's a seemingly endless amount of Bernie Speaks episodes on the Channel 17 YouTube—OK, there are 38, but still—and they vacillate wildly between "boring local political garble" and "absolutely bonkers." For every few episodes of Bernie discussing day care ballot measures and low voter turnout, there's footage him up on a horse or this incredible clip where Bernie talks to children about the dangers of cocaine and gets called out for looking like Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future.You can watch all the Bernie Speaks episodes over on YouTube. And let's hope that wherever Michelle and Mike the Mall Punks are now, they're still saying "to heck with society" and fighting the good fight against all the world's baloney. Thank you for your service.Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.