Good or bad omen?: A bird’s message for Bernie Sanders

This post is also available in: Spanish

A sparrow’s visit to Bernie Sanders in the middle of a rally in Portland, Oregon has become one of the most famous omens in recent political history.

A little bird interrupted Bernie Sanders’ speech during his rally at Portland, Oregon. Sanders, who runs for the presidential candidacy for the Democratic Party, had to stop his speech when the audience told him there was a bird on stage. Sanders looked at the bird, and continuing his speech, said: “This little bird doesn’t know it”. Then the bird flew and landed on his podium looking at Bernie. The audience was cheering while the Democratic Senator of Vermont exchanged looks and smile with the little animal until it flew away a few seconds later. “I think… I think there is some symbolism here”, commented Sanders. “I know it doesn’t look like it but that bird was really a dove asking for world peace. No more wars!”. This incident went viral on social media and the press naming the bird Birdie Sanders.

What’s interesting about this is that Bernie Sanders and his followers recognized the bird as an omen or augury. Since prehistoric times people looked at symbols in nature as divine messages. Precisely, the word “augury” comes from the Latin word augurium, which means “an indication of the future; omen; sign”. It can be positive or negative. An augur was a priest who practiced divination in Ancient Rome. The augurs constituted one of the four main colleges of priests and were consulted by political leaders. This was an official and lifetime position. One of the most commonly used divination methods by augurs was the auspicium or the observation of the flight of the birds.

In the traditions of the Native North Americans, each animal has a meaning. If a person comes across an animal, see it in dreams or the animal approached him or her, it was a sign that the animal was bringing a message. Some identified Birdie Sanders as a white finch; others, as a sparrow. Native North American traditions describe the totem or spirit animal of the white finch as a symbol of joy, energy, simplicity, and sociability. It’s also a sign of celebrations because of bright days in the horizon.

On the other hand, the animal totem of the sparrow represent work, the workers, and community participation. It’s a symbol of protection and teamwork where achieving power is found in the force of its numbers. Sparrows make a calling to defend, empower, and acknowledge self-value without forgetting the importance of compassion. These little birds do everything in groups — rest, eat, move, which can intimidate any predator, no matter how big and ferocious.Birdie-Sanders-2016

Bernie Sanders became popular for working and speaking in favor of the needy, the working class, and social justice condemning the big interests of capitalism, the big corporations, and the ambition of Wall Street for the beginning of the fall of democracy in the United States. Sanders denied donations and funding from big corporations and compromise his message because of it. Despite running his campaign with much less money than his competitors and receiving little support from the media, his speeches and interviews have inspired all of those who have a vision of politics based in equality and community, such as the principles and roots of democracy. His personality and political style concurs with the animal spirit of the sparrow. Time will tell if the visit of Birdie Sanders really augurs the success of Bernie Sanders in the primaries or if it only brought a beautiful and ephemeral moment of joy and hope.

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