Yes We Can Can

I am shocked, shocked that any politician would ever use words in a speech he or she didn’t personally write. I know there are rumors that presidents hire speech writers, but I refuse to believe that. Seriously, it is always better to give credit right up front, but I always thought that plagiarism was using someone else’s words without their permission. It seems Barack Obama’s accusers are using the expanded definition. Soon they’ll be on to the terrible truth that he is not the first person to use the slogan, ‘yes, we can.’

Documentation comes from Liza Porteus Viana, who wrote the following, let there be no mistake about it, she wrote this, not me…

Not only has Barack Obama’s “Yes, We Can” theme caught on like wildfire on the Internet but it apparently has created some commonalities between the Democratic presidential hopeful and some foreign leaders, as well.

Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev’s favorite catchphrase, in Tatar, is “Bez Buldyrabyz!” That has the same meaning as “Yes, We Can.”

and let me not fail to credit Anne Stewart, who points out that Barack Obama’s outreach to labor recalls an earlier version of the slogan, in Spanish.

Although it only really caught on in English after New Hampshire, Spanish supporters of Obama have been using the phrase “Si se puede� since the get-go. The words are actually an old Spanish labor union slogan from the 70s, originally penned by Ceasar Chavez and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta. Yet another example of amazing design ideas coming for the ranks of union organizers!

And I must admit that I did not personally compose the following verses. These are the words of the great musician Allen Toussaint, whose rockin’ version of ‘Yes We Can Can’ is on the CD ‘Our New Orleans’ ( a benefit CD for survivors of Hurricane Katrina.)

Make this land a better land
Than the world in which we live
And help each man be a better man
With the kindness that you give
I know we can make it
I know darn well we can work it out
Oh yes we can, I know we can can

Although Alan Toussaint wrote the song, it was a hit for the Pointer Sisters (who acknowledged his authorship) back in the day when the world was young and we believed in peace, justice and freedom. It seemed so close then, a change for the better. Do we keep coming back to the same realizations?

Some say time moves in circles, some say it moves in a spiral, with each turn bringing us to the same place at a higher level. Like the song goes, “Now’s the time…â€?

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3 responses

  1. Yes We Can Can…

    I always thought that plagiarism was using someone else’s words without their permission. It seems Barack Obama’s accusers are using the expanded definition. Soon they’ll be on to the terrible truth that he is not the first person to use the slog…

  2. Jesse from Cranston

    If this is the best the Clintonites can come up with, the rest of the primary season will be very short, indeed.

    Seriously, accusing Obama of borrowing words from another speech (and has anyone missed the subtext that it was another black Democratic politician?) is pretty poor attack strategy. Hillary’s ad accusing Barack of dodging debates is, likewise, the hallmark of a losing campaign.

    I’d also like to note that the worst attack anyone has lodged against Obama (including Double Talk Express McCain) is that he makes great speeches but lacks substance. What Hillary is really saying is, Obama doesn’t give her attack machine anything to pick apart, so she’ll just make up a controversy. Republicans are saying that the only people they’ll hear idealism from are transplanted scions of dynastic New England WASP families and Southern Baptist right wing egomaniacs.

    If Obama keeps his head and continues to win, I think Hillary will be headed for a Britney Spears-style meltdown. Can’t come fast enough.

  3. To aqll you doubters Every President has a bunch of speech writers. Where did you think Pat Buchanan got his start? He was a speech writer for Richard Nixon.

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