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[Sic] We Can

John makes an excellent point about the conclusion of Obama’s acceptance speech, in which our next president repeated the phrase “Yes, we can” after a series of hope-filled sentences (in what was an example of the rhetorical device of epistrophe). As John notes, Obama called these three words America’s “timeless creed,” despite the fact that slogans are not creeds. Nonetheless, expect to see “VERO POSSUMUS” on coins soon. In fact, as you might recall, back in June Obama received flak for giving a speech behind his own personalized presidential seal.

Obama’s seal with Vero Possumus

While it was nice to see his bald eagle gripping arrows in one claw (instead of, say, a bundle of less-threatening Twizzlers), if one looked closely one found that approximate Latin translation of “Yes, we can” in small Roman type. Unsurprisingly, the seal was immediately clubbed to death by the press. And come to think of it, isn’t “sic” the medieval Latin for “yes”? Should Obama organize a United States of Latin America, presumably the motto will be “Si, se puede,” the rallying cry of Chavez (Cesar, not Hugo), which Obama has repeatedly made recourse to.

Someday, if there ever is a President Palin, we could at least look forward to her adopting the motto of the Madison Avenue Rod, Gun, Bloody Mary & Labrador Retriever Benevolent Association, which Jaroslav Pelikan translated as:

Semper siccandae sunt: potio
Pulvis, et pelliculatio.

That is, “Keep your powder, trout flies, and martinis dry.” Alas, MARGBMLRBA is, for now, a purely mythical society.


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