Yes, we can: a 2008 retrospective, part I

Yes We Can t-shirt2008 was a year of ups and downs – from politics to gas prices to the economy, this year was a mercurial one for America.

Barack Obama Yes We Can t-shirtIn winding down this 2008 we’re taking a look back at the four main themes we saw ’round these parts, with this post serving as the first installment.  As you may have guessed, one of the main themes of this year happens to also be the catch phrase of someone who inspired most a nation to believe it: Yes we can.  And as the shirts will tell you, yes we did.

But Barack Obama wasn’t the only person determined to succeed in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds this year.  There were others out there who put their noses to the grindstone and faced their challenges with the single-minded determination of an ant travelling uphill in a flood while carrying cargo 5 times its body weight.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton t-shirtHillary Clinton ran a campaign that had her as the Democratic front runner right up until Obama showed up in earnest.  Even when it seemed that the Obama train was running full speed ahead, she didn’t step out of the way.  When it seemed the numbers were insurmountable, she put her head down and stayed in it to win it.

And when political pundits started calling for her to drop out, Hillary ignored them with the bold determination to finish what she’d started.  Nobody was going to tell her she couldn’t win; ironically, Hillary embodied the “Yes We Can” spirit right down to her Primary Night Non-Concession Speech wherein it had been presumed that she would concede the race.  But she didn’t concede, and instead focused on the 18 million people who’d voted for her.

Hillary Clinton Secretary of State t-shirtIn the end, Yes We Can became a Well, We Tried Damn Hard for Hillary Clinton.  But that kind of grit didn’t go unnoticed by us – or the Obama camp – and so it is that Hillary, though she didn’t succeed as being the first female President of the United States, will in fact be our next Secretary of State.  So in a way, she succeeded in her mission to make it to the White House.  Yes,  she did.

Stand Up To Cancer

stand up to cancerStand Up To Cancer has a mission cure to cancer by funding the most cutting-edge research available.  Towards that end, SU2C partnered with an A-list celebrity lineup to produce a telethon that aired on all major networks and brought in over $100 million for cancer research.

In order to raise additional funds and help folks sport their support for a cure, Stand Up To Cancer launched an online shop carrying SU2C t-shirts, buttons, stickers and other gear.  All proceeds from the shop go towards curing cancer, thus allowing people to take part in a cure by virtue of their fashion choice.

Fashion Rocks concertSU2C was also the beneficiary of the “Fashion Rocks” broadcast that aired a week later.  This special brought together celebrities of sound, stage and style to celebrate fashion, music and the greater good.  An original song, “Just Stand Up,” was performed by a range of female artists – all wearing the Stand Up to Cancer t-shirt.

The Stand Up To Cancer camp believes that a cure for cancer – though a monumental task – is within reach.  Hats off to them for the “Yes, we can” spirit that dominated airwaves and reminded us all that banding together is the best way to fight the toughest battles.

T. Boone Pickens

blow me it turns me on t-shirtblow me it turns me on wind turbine t-shirt Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens has a plan for reducing both America’s dependency on and investment in foreign oil.  That plan hinges largely on the natural energy endemic to the Great Plains – the very force of nature that partnered with earth to define the Dust Bowl, has ruined uncountable hairdos and led to countless runaway kites…

Yep.  Wind.

stop the addiction to foreign oil t-shirtThe plan is, appropriately, called The Pickens Plan.  With American dependency on foreign oil having increased from 24% to 70% in the last 40 years, the plan goal is to lower that amount by at least 1/3.  Pickens calls the United States the “Saudi Arabia of wind power,” and notes that moving into wind will not only reduce our foreign energy investment,  but also revitalize the American Midwest with a new energy business.  While wind is the cornerstone of the Pickens Plan, it also calls for natural gas to be used in the trucking industry, as well as for a more concerted focus on solar and biofuels for the everyman consumer.

pickens plan storePickens will also remind Americans not to get complacent with the recent fall in gas prices, noting that OPEC has spent the past several decades lowering oil prices whenever America gets serious about alternative energy.  To help their supporters spread the word about their vision, they have a Pickens Plan shop with merchandise available at cost.

Coming up with alternative energy solutions that plan to change the way that Americans live their everyday lives – as well as the American and global economies – may seem like a Herculean challenge, but T. Boone Pickens has a plan and he’s moving full-steam ahead.  Pickens seems to be running on the clean energy of sheer will, determination and the “Deliver a plan, plan to deliver” adage.  This style of effort, of course, is easily summed up by three little words: “Yes we can.”

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