When I think back to what I was taught about America growing up, I was told, “Be kind to all.” Streamers that pictured children from every part of the world, all holding hands, hung in the hallways of my pre-school. Almost every single year of my elementary life that I can remember, we were shown Schoolhouse Rock. But the episode that always struck me with the most interest was, "The Great American Melting Pot". Everyone began to hear of this amazing land, this land of opportunity and acceptance of all people that come; “pay the fare to America,” and live freely. The cartoon sings, “Lovely Lady Liberty, with her book of recipes, and the finest one she’s got,” then bam, “The Great American Melting Pot.” In my eyes, America seemed to be the country of open arms.
This is the Coca-Cola commercial aired on Super Bowl Sunday:
Coca-Cola’s, “America is Beautiful” commercial opens with a scene of a cowboy, which represents our western image of masculinity. It then goes on to show the vast amount of culture that resides within the US, and with each new culture shown, "America the Beautiful" is sung in different languages. When I saw this commercial, I was surprisingly refreshed. Surprising in that, rarely am I ever moved by any commercial. This was one of the first times I had watched a commercial that not only moved me, but truly strengthened my appreciation and love for this amazing country we are fortunate enough to live in. It represented not only the diversity that has built America, but also the element that makes America, America: the embodiment of the people and virtues that are the foundation of our very laws. Not to mention, it recognized the fact that this is a new era. We not only accept people of every culture, but of every sexual orientation. This especially spoke to me because my brother is a part of the gay community.
Moments after this commercial aired, the hashtag “boycottcoke” started to trend on twitter. Baffled by the very thought of people actually getting angry over the fact that Coca-Cola had just put on a production that stood for the equality and peace we have come to in this country, I went and read these tweets for myself. Just to give you an idea of what was being said; here are some of the responses that were tweeted with the hashtag, boycottcoke:
How dare Coca-Cola depict America as a country that stands for peace and unity, right? How outrageous to think that we are a country that was built on people who migrated here. To think, that someone would sing “America the Beautiful” in a language other than our native tongue, English, which happens to be the not-so-native language of the Native Americans before us. Appalling, isn’t it?
Being American doesn’t just stand for being born in America. Being an American means believing in the virtue that all men are created equal, in the promise of opportunity for all. We stand for the right to agree to disagree. We believe in the American ideals of sharing the wealth, the land, and the love. President Obama in his state of the union address two weeks ago said, “Opportunity is who we are.” He stresses that we live by this virtue, along with the virtue of citizenship because, “we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation.” Others recognize this country as a sign of hope. Hope in a humanity that will welcome them with open arms. We are a country that has triumphed over periods of time in our history when faced with the oppression of race, religion, and sexual orientation. This is what we as Americans are proud to be a part of. And if you’re still thinking, “Yeah, whatever you say,” take it from anchorwoman Brenda Wood of Atlanta’s WXIA news station, who will completely blow your mind in just two minutes.
People who sing “America the Beautiful” in their own language show respect for the country they reside in. They have weaved the American ideals and virtues into their own version of how they live every day. These are the people who have not only assimilated to the American lifestyle, but also embodied the American integrity, as well as the American struggle. United we Stand, divided we fall. As an American, I say to all, this is the kind of division that only makes us weaker. Be the strength this country stands for, and always speak up for the voices that get drowned out. Be the voice of unity, and the face of progress.
To those who were outraged, and offended by Coca-Cola’s take on America the great, I leave you with this clip. If we’re going to ostracize those who sang “America the Beautiful” in foreign languages, we most certainly cannot forget about these. Enjoy. And remember, America is beautiful.