Sunday, April 04, 2021

Or Try "Yes, We Can"


Donald Trump and Dr. Jill Biden have something- other than neither being over 6'0"- in common.

"I love the poorly educated," declared Trump after winning the GOP primary in Nevada in 2016.  He continued to roll up big numbers among lesser-educated voters despite- or perhaps because- he declared his patronizing attitude toward them.

Even more famously, Trump once boasted "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters." thereby assuring his people that he realized they are idiots.

Although Trump was the king of stupid utterances, the practice is bipartisan. On Wednesday, Jill Biden spoke at a gathering of farmworkers in California to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day, so named for the late, great labor activist. As reported

While delivering remarks to the socially distanced crowd, Biden first noted that Chávez “understood that no matter the obstacles, when people come together united in a cause, anything is possible.

“Yes we can. Sí se puede,” she continued.

Later, while closing her speech, Biden said enthusiastically, “So say it with me, ‘Sí se pwaud-way,’ the future is ours. Thank you.”

She then waved as she walked away from the microphone, being met with light applause as she and Newsom began to depart the stage.

“Sí se puede,” which roughly translates to “Yes we can,” was popularized by Chávez and his United Farm Workers, which used the phrase as a motto in the 1970s.



It's not as if the expression lay dormant since the 1970s. Barack Obama revived it in his first presidential campaign, when

“Yes we can” defined his most famous 2008 speeches in New Hampshire and in Chicago’s Grant Park, and was chanted at political rallies nationwide. It appeared on campaign posters and inspired a song and celebrity-packed music video by artist will.i.am.

As Obama  understood and Biden doesn't: when engaging in cultural appropriating: pronounce the phrase correctly. Nonetheless, the White House probably was helped, however marginally, by invocation of the saying by the First Lady. As Donald Trump (and, to a lesser extent, countless other politicians) demonstrated, most people love being pandered to.  It encourages a feeling of familiarity and the (inaccurate) notion that the public figure cares enough about them to pander.

There is a downside to Mrs. Biden's reprehensible mangling of a simple phrase, however. There will come a time when the right will question the insistence of the First Lady or her fans in using the prefix "Dr." in a context outside of education policy. As when this previously occurred, her supporters will howl in protest.

The use of the prefix "Dr.", inferring superiority, is meant to imply a higher degree of education  and understanding.  And so it does- in that field. At most other times, "the First Lady" or"Mrs. Biden" (or "Jill," if familiarity is warranted) will do just fine. Sí, podemos hacer eso.

 


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