Bernie’s Finger Wagging

Much has been said recently about the finger wagging of Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Washington Post put together a montage of video clips. Others echoed the meme, such as here and here.

I agree with the majority of observers in this post on Personality Cafe: Bernie Sanders is likely an Enneagram Type One.

As discussed in a related EnneaBit, particular physical postures are associated with each of the 9 Enneagram styles. Notice in Margarita Fernandez's sketch that finger wagging is the predominate Type One posture.

There are many different ways and reasons we point fingers. We point to indicate ("this is what I'm referring to"), to acknowledge  ("hey, I know you!"), and to emphasize a point ("this really matters").

It's worth reflecting on the particular ways and reasons involved in Type One finger wagging. Sometimes it's judging plain and simple: "no, no! that isn't right! don't do that!"

More deeply, and perhaps more often, the Type One finger wag conveys a point of order: "attend to this error! be fair! this is the right & proper way, the correct process!" 

Type Ones love when things fit perfectly. Their strength, and social contribution, is to point out when things are not in order and how to get things back in order, back in line.

Type Ones especially like to align things with core values & principles. This style focuses a lot of attention on being civilized, proper, and precise.

The upright finger is the perfect symbol of this concern with being upright and upstanding. The wagging expresses the urgency many Ones probably experience: Type Ones tend to work very hard to make a better world for all of us.

Like the written number "1," the Point One in all of us closely relates to the straight line, to aligning in general. It's about calibrating with the natural goodness of life and the joyful peace (serenity) that comes when everything flows "just right."

Notice how in both Enneagram comics the Type One is depicted with wagging finger.


The Business Meeting reflects variations on all of Fernandez's postures, except the hidden 4 & 5. It's good to feel into the energy of one's type posture to see how it shows up in subtle ways.

The Democratic Party's Integrity War

The 2016 Democratic Primary is fascinating from an Enneagram perspective because, like Sen. Sander, Sec. Hillary Clinton is also a Type One. Check out this analysis of Clinton's Type One personality style.

Clinton gets most incensed when she perceives her integrity is impugned -- integrity being the major buzz word for Type Ones. This happened during the debates when Sanders pressed his major campaign theme hammering Clinton about the influence of big donors and Super PACs.

Sec. Clinton's irritation over this issue was on display during her recent tussle with a Sanders supporter and Greenpeace activist over whether her campaign accepts money from the fossil fuel industry. The dust-up lead the New York Daily News to wonder in its headline: "Who wagged it better? Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton battle it out for index finger supremacy."

For his part, Sanders also gets incensed when his integrity is questioned. He gets most upset when Clinton or others suggest he is running a smear campaign or endorses uncivilized, unethical or inappropriate behavior or tactics.

Indeed, this very Type One Integrity War is a central theme running throughout the Sanders and Clinton campaigns for the Democratic Party nomination. Watch it play out over the next few months!




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