Yes We Can!

He did it – they (collectively) did it!

Here’s a page celebrating the  first African-American president, the highest turnout in 50 years – and the movement that harnessed voter power, both on the ground and on the Internet.

First the celebrated will.i.am Yes We Can video:

Lyrics:
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.
Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.

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.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea —
Yes. We. Can.

Speeches:

  • Keynote address to 2004 Democratic National Convention: the one that started it all. “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.”
  • Announcing his candidacy: “And if you will join me in this improbable quest, if you feel destiny calling, and see as I see, a future of endless possibility stretching before us…”
  • New Hampshire: “Yes We Can”
  • Race in America: the tremendous speech he made this summer in response to the Rev. Wright furore. “I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.”
  • Acceptance speech: “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

Reports:

  • The road to the White House: Jonathan Freedland narrates a half-hour documentary tracing Barack Obama’s remarkable journey to the White House, from his childhood in Hawaii, through his education in Indonesia and at Harvard (Guardian)
  • Gary Younge: There are times when the usually glacial pace of social progress accelerates to such a degree that you feel you are experiencing it in real time. Stand in the present and history comes rushing towards you, making you feel lightheaded.

Naming Obama its 2008 “Person of the Year”, Time magazine described his election as the result of “the steady march of seemingly impossible accomplishments”.  Which just about sums it up.

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