Monday, December 1, 2008

Turning Hope Into a Generic Brand.

Driving up trendy Montreal staple, St-Laurent Boulevard, I was stunned to the point of pulling over. I triple-blinked, in disbelief, at the sight of a giant sign that read “YES WE CAN” next to the picture of a aluminum can, in the window of a soon to be open bar. What?! Are these people for real?

When Barack Obama spoke these three little words, it was not as a marketing ploy. It was a rally-cry for all those who’ve been held back, stepped on, passed over and denied. When Herbie Hancock spoke the same three words at the 2008 Grammys in his acceptance speech, it was first, an endorsement of President-elect Obama and second, it was an homage and recognition to the thousands of jazz players who’ve been held back, stepped-on, passed over and denied.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom. It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness. It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality.
Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.
Yes we can heal this nation.
Yes we can repair this world.
Yes we can. »

It was not meant as a not-so-cheeky publicity-stunt for obscure Montreal bars. The three words that gave millions a voice and hope are sacred and deserve respect.

Blogger’s note: I give Rolling Stone magazine a free pass since first, they continue to be as relevant and as cool as ever and second, they endorsed Barack Obama before it was cool to do so.

1 comment:

Andy Nulman said...

Guess I know where we're NOT going for a drink...

Even if I pay...