Coca-Cola’s 1971 tagline, “I’d like to buy the world a coke” became the basis for the song “I’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony)”.
Last night, Coca-Cola infiltrated the minds of many Americans with its new commercial, “It’s Beautiful.” This commercial seemed to remind many Americans that America, is not homogeneous
To me, Coca-Cola walks hand in hand with American exceptionalism in this video; imagine my surprise (though I should have seen it coming) when I saw the internet backlash. I am still trying to figure out what, outside of bigotry, causes so many to be insulted by a group of young Americans praising the glory of America without abandoning their native culture.
Of course, this trending subject became a topic for many political pundits. Former Florida Rep. Alan West had this to say:
But the last thing any of us should want to see is a balkanized America. Furthermore, it has to be of concern that we have Americans who lack the resolve to take a stand for our borders, language, and culture. That’s why I included the quotes from President Teddy Roosevelt, because once upon a time that was how Americans felt, and immigrants came here to be a part of the American experience, not bystanders.
I’ve never heard of this singular American culture that West speaks of? Any guess as to what that is?
Of course, our favorite Heritage NOT History advocate, Connie Chastain, had this to say:
Yes, I’m a Southerner first. Yes, I’m a secessionist. But I grew up American, and I retain enough loyalty to my culture, American culture — not to the government, not to the leftist agenda — but to American culture, that I found this offensive almost to the point of abominable…
Connie’s American culture is ironically aligned with West’s. I say ironically because Connie is not really in favor of black leadership as exhibited by her numerous rants proclaiming white European Christian ancestry as the superior culture on planet Earth. It is also ironic that the defender of Heritage is really only in favor of a perverted American Heritage. Foreigners need not apply.
Personally (aside from the exceptionalism), I thought the commercial was a wonderful illustration of the diversity of America. The United States has always been diverse. It is made up from numerous cultures from different corners of the globe. From the outset, Americans realized that the new country qualities representative of a melting pot. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were printed in foreign languages shortly after their publications. Henrich Miller’s “Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote” printed the DOI a mere five days after its approval. The America has no official language and I think it is presumptuous to claim that it is an “unwritten rule” in a nation state driven by written law. Yet at the same time, the commercial helped to highlight a prevalent and lasting ugliness in America. The reaction is reminiscent of 1920s American xenophobia that obviously never left. The ignorant Nativism exhibited is ridiculous beyond reproach. The message seems clear, it’s English or bust; anything else leads to the downfall of the country (what these people call ‘multiculturalism’). The only positive aspect that can be drawn from those reactions, is that there seems to be no criticism of the featured gay couple. According to GLAAD, this is the first time that a gay family has ever been featured in a U.S. television commercial. I cannot help but wonder though, if the hatred of multilingual Americans singing a patriotic hymn somehow blinded many to this fact.
I want to sign off with a couple of questions that I, and hopefully you, will ponder: Does being an American mean assimilating and abandoning your native culture? And what culture, exactly, are you assimilating into if you do? Thoughts?
Update: Brooks Simpson posted on this topic here. Brooks also posted an “It’s Beautiful: Behind the Scenes” video. After watching it, I was able to locate Coca-Cola’s YouTube page and watch more of their behind the scenes exclusives.