A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors


O'Boba the builder

Not sure anyone noticed, but in his New Hampshire victory speech Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, intoned several times, "Yes, we can!" Resounding cheers and chantback followed."Yes, we can!"is the signature rallying cry of PBS's kid's favorite, Bob the Builder; perfectly capturing the-we-can-do-this-together effort by Obama's campaign to get out the kidvote. AsChicagoans, he and I know that he is tapping into a deeply traditional Chicago voting bloc. Can we succeed in building this house before the wicked wolves (and you know who I mean) blow the house down? Stay tuned.

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



Commenting Guidelines

  • All

Andrew Sullivan posted a YouTube clip of the Bob the Builder "Yes We Can" song--pretty amusing. I knew Obama had some young people on his campaign staff, but sheesh...

You have to remember, though, that for Bob the "Yes, we can!" includes not only Muck, Scoop, and Rolly but also Dizzy and Wendy.

"Yes, we can." is also a very familiar expression in Latino circle -- "si, se peude"

"Yes We Can" was the campaign slogan of Gov Deval Patrick in the 2006 election here in Massachusetts - the chanting was a hallmark of his rallies. He is an Obama supporter.The slogan has become something of a joke now. His campaign was noted for being light on specifics and big on "vision" and "hope." When I heard this chanting on the radio or TV I wanted to shout back - "Yes You Can What??????"He was going to bring "hope" and cvility back to state government. One year later, with the most one-sided (on his side) legislature in the country he has accomplished, exactly, nothing. He is viewed by the state legislators as high-handed. Even the Boston Globe treats hime with disdain.Obama might do better to avoid this slogan - at least in New England.

S, se puede is a rallying cry used throughout the Southwest by many groups working for many different causes. Whether Native American or Hispanic who both trace their ancestry further back than the New England colonists, and Anglos of every which stripe (German, Irish, Polish, Middle Eastern, etc.) and the equally diverse Latino populations, we all use the cry of the United Farm Workers and their leader Csar Chavez, Yes, we can when told we cant!We get it.I suggest that rather have Obama adapt to the New Englanders lack of knowledge about the Southwest and about the farm workers who pick their table grapes, they read up on this region of the our nation and this important American civil rights protest of the 60s and 70s.If this white gal, a transplant from Chicago some 30 years ago to northern New Mexico, could learn the history of this land, could love it and its people, and integrate s, se puede into her every-day vocabulary, believe meanyone can!

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment