Subsequent to my question about Club’s telephone tips in Maureen Dowd’s article, "Mitt Romney is the president of white male America” in New York Times (Nov. 10), I was interested in the usage of “the Ones” in the following sentence:

“Just like the Bushes before him, Romney tried to portray himself as more American than his Democratic opponent. But America’s gallimaufry wasn’t knuckling under to the gentry this time.

If 2008 was about exalting the One, 2012 was about the disenchanted Democratic base deciding: “We are the Ones we’ve been waiting for.”

There is no explanation about “the One" and "the Ones” in this paragraph, and before and after this sentence. Although I surmise “the Ones” means We, awaken populace – middle class, colored, ethnic, college students, working females, and you can name it, I don’t know what it exactly mean.

Are “the One" and "the Ones” self-explanatory to native speakers, when “one” and "ones" are written with the capital O.

What are the exact definitions of “the One / Ones”? Is the difference (upper case O vs lower case O) discernable in audio, i.e. when they are read out?

  • Could the One refer to the chosen One, the term popularized by the movie Tha Matrix (1999)? The sense of the word seems to fit quite well in political context. People would choose (vote/elect) their President in the election. Nov 11, 2012 at 8:44
  • There's no set way of rendering quotes or caps in speech, but I think most people have 'a' way of marking words vocally. In this case I'd interrupt the air flow at both ends with a laryngeal stop, and open up chest resonance in between. Nov 11, 2012 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


It seems to me that by "the One", Dowd means Obama as a kind of savior because he was so persuasive about his vision of change in the American government. Romney, she says, tried to portray himself as a rival "the One" and his GOP colleagues as his assistant "the Ones". The gallimaufry (the melange that is the American voting populace and especially the disenchanted Democratic base), however, she says, have decided that they, the American people and the disenchanted Democrats, are "the Ones". They didn't cross over and vote for Romney and the GOP.

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    There is also a sideways dig at Romney as the leader of 'the ones', the wealthiest 1%, opposed (in the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement) by the 99%. And "We are the Ones we have been waiting for" is a line from Obama's 2008 campaign. Nov 11, 2012 at 12:03
  • +1 @StoneyB: Excellent reading, Stoney. I missed that, but it's there, alright, now that you point it out (How's that for phenomenology?).
    – user21497
    Nov 11, 2012 at 12:08
  • Steal any of it you want. I think you nailed the key points, this is just the icing on the cake. Nov 11, 2012 at 12:16

"Exalting the One" means "praising a chosen person", implying that the person the people would vote for would be able to solve their problems.

"We are the Ones" indeed refers to the people, implying that there is no charismatic leader who can help the people, it is the people themselves who can work out the solutions.

To my understanding, "The One" refers to terms like "the one and only" or "the chosen one", which are both associated with a person having unique qualities and who rises above all others.

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