Outraged by the Coke ad during the Superbowl?
You bet I was. Not because of the ad itself but because of the reaction it got.
It showed the US and Americans from coast to coast, border to border. It very accurately depicted people of all colors, religions, and cultures singing America the Beautiful in several different languages. That IS America.
What shocked me was the immediate reaction it got. "What? That's not America!" and "What's with all of the different languages, we speak English here" and even "That's bullshit."
Have we completely forgotten why and how the US was formed? Have we completely abandoned all of the principals on which this nation was founded?
From the poem by Emma Lazarus which adorns our beloved Statue of Liberty:
"From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
"Glows world-wide welcome" doesn't mean "Come on over but only if you speak English or plan to learn it right away. Oh and by the way, you have to stop doing all of those things that remind you of where you came from. Stop speaking your language and stop wearing clothing that represents other countries or religions. No more quinceanaras or Chinese New Year celebrations. Unless you want to have a St. Patrick's Day parade. That's OK because it is based on white, Christian, English speaking traditions."
The poem was written in 1883, well after our country was founded, but it exemplifies the spirit of the day. Why do we think that it should be different today? What are we so afraid of?
There is, of course an economic impact of immigration, legal or otherwise. But that's not what sparked the reaction to the ad. The reactions were based on what people heard and saw in the moment. Why does an America with many cultures, colors, languages, sexual orientation and religions frighten people so?
And let's be clear. Negative reactions to differences are based in fear. Fear of what is not understood. Fear that if you are different it must mean you are automatically either better or worse than the other.
Nobody is better or worse than anyone else based on culture, color etc. It is our actions that differentiate us from one another. Period.
I, for one, loved the ad. It made me proud to be an American. It made me visualize how diverse and eclectic and culturally rich we are.
It reminded me of the Coke ad from the '70's that sang about "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" only it showed that you don't even have to tavel outside of the US to "buy the world a Coke" because the world is right here. THIS is the America that I want to live in and that I'm glad that my children have grown up in and that I want my grandchildren to enjoy and be proud of. This nation that holds so much wealth of diversity is exactly why I'm proud to say that I'm an American and damn it, I loved that ad.