Here, There & Everywhere: “Yes, We Can!”

By Don Heckman

“Yes, we can” was one of the most frequently heard slogans of the Obama presidential campaign.  And it was a good one, with its implicit sense of working together toward common goals.  This week, President Obama took a giant step toward holding up his end of the catchphrase by effectively taking action on the economic stimulus package.

But what about all the eager supporters, chanting the phrase over and over, holding up the placards, eager to join in the all-together-now choruses of “Yes, we can?”  What’s left for them to do, now that Obama is in the White House and the Democrats control the Congress?  Sit around and wait to see what the President and his minions do next?

Earlier today, a friend forwarded a link to me that provided a view of some of the actions one might take to translate “Yes, we can” into something more closely resembling President John F. Kennedy’s classic phrase “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”

The link connects to a video created by, of all people, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.  In it, some familiar (and less familiar) faces offer thoughts and commitments about the pledges they’re making to pitch in and share the burden.  Sure, it has some of the superficiality that’s present in all celebrity we-are-the-world get-togethers.  But it also has a core of commitment and meaning that is worth considering.  If, that is, the pledges are taken beyond the form of persuasive promises and into the realm of action and productivity.  So I’m posting it here for everyone to take a look, and make their own judgments.

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