Dear President Obama,
No doubt you are missing that mindless chant of Yes We Can that your followers could repeat incessantly during your 2008 campaign. It was brilliantly open ended. If what “we could” do was elect the first African American president, then yes, we could. But now so many of your promises turned out to be harder to accomplish than expected, so you certainly can’t use the same slogan for re-election. Fear not, however, dear leader, for my three-year-old has written a new slogan for you.
Recently my daughter told me that some of the grownups at her daycare were talking about me and saying that I was English. This is a common mistake due to the double meaning of the word for the language and the people. The same happens in the US when people refer to Spanish-speaking latinos as “Spanish people”. Anyway, my daughter took it upon herself to correct them, informing them that I am actually an americano.
Since then, she and I have been having discussions about nationality and about who is which nationality. She hasn’t quite grasped how she can be both Spanish and American.
Then, a week or so ago, out of the clear blue silence, she started chanting something. This happens often, and it’s often nonsensical, but I listened more closely and asked her to repeat it louder. She was saying:
She meant “American“, of course, but she was having a ball chanting it to herself over and over again.
That’s when it hit me. What a perfect campaign slogan! It’s inclusive, it’s personal, it’s unifying, and it makes use of the language’s ambiguity about the plurality of our second person pronoun! It’s perfect!
Mr. President, send over some black helicopters, and we can talk licensing.