[artinfo] Yes we can. And this time I mean it.

Barack Obama barack at theyesmen.org
Tue Nov 26 13:50:26 CET 2013

Dear the American People,

Things are tough for me at the moment; as you may know, the website for my health care plan had a big glitch.

If I were my predecessor, I'd order a full-scale attack on Webistan. Fortunately Webistan doesn't exist, so I've just had to deal.

Dealing is hard. But I know in my heart that despite this glitch, and even if there are additional glitches, we will one day in this country have a health care system even better than Cuba's.

How do I stay optimistic? Simple: as a one-time community organizer, I know that even when actions don't achieve miracles right out the door, the overall movement does often succeed. Even glitches can play a part in the triumph.

Take, for example, that raggedy group of anti-corporate weirdos, the Yes Men.

In 2009, the Yes Men and friends impersonated the US Chamber of Commerce to announce that the Chamber was no longer opposing climate legislation. A real Chamber rep barged in the door; the ensuing melee resulted in tons of hilarious media coverage–and even more when the Chamber sued the Yes Men.

But so what? Well, two weeks after this action, the Chamber really did reverse its opposition. As my colleague Al Gore noted at the time, the Chamber's about-face was "not courtesy of the Yes Men"–—but their action was part of the wave that forced it to happen!

Shortly after that action, the Yes Men formed the Yes Lab and have worked with a number of groups to pull off high-profile media actions around the groups' goals. None of those actions changed the world by itself. Some merely put the issue front and center for a few minutes, others for a few hours. Some of them even had website glitches as bad as mine. Yet most of the movements these actions were a part of succeeded!

Shell's Arctic drilling program ended up failing, thanks to nature and Shell's own incompetence. Monsanto's GMO corn was banned in Mexico. New York City’s courts found Stop and Frisk policing unconstitutional, even when Bloomberg tried to intervene.

So, movements can succeed. Isn't that comforting? It suggests that we, too, could one day succeed at achieving a level of health care for all Americans that's currently afforded only the wealthy, or prisoners—no matter how many glitches my website may currently have.

The Yes Men prove it. Which is why you should support them as lavishly as you possibly can: http://yeslab.org/supportus

Thank you,

Barack Obama
44th President of the United States

PS: I was proud to present the Yes Men with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

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