Just sitting at my desk here Monday, sipping a Coke and humming “America the Beautiful.” Am I an un-American subversive commie/pinko or what?
It turns out that the ads were the only things worth watching during Sunday’s Super Bowl. (Unless you were a Seahawks fan, and seriously, how many of those can there really be?) So of course the water-cooler chat Monday wasn’t over a blown call or a thrilling finish but over a Coca-Cola commercial.
Coke apparently thought a spot featuring a multilingual rendition of “America the Beautiful” would be, well, beautiful. And would, hopefully, sell more Cokes. (As if somehow that’s possible. It’s like the beer ads: Can anyone actually be swayed at this point? You drink Coke or you don’t. You drink Bud Light or you don’t. Putting Arnold Schwarzenegger in your ad isn’t going to change that. Oh, and good to see you again, Conan/ex-governor!)
But beauty, as we all know, is in the eyes (or ears) of the beholders. And behold, Coke found that this nation of immigrants can also be a nation of bigots, racists and the just downright dumb. How else to explain the folks who took to Twitter and social media to object? Using bad language and everything. (Well, at least we’re getting more tech-savvy; who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks?)
Maybe Coke should’ve just rerun its classic 1979 commercial featuring Mean Joe Greene and the little kid (see above); though probably Twitter would’ve exploded in some rant or another anyway.
Now, you could see the most recent backlash as an example of the ugly anti-immigrant undercurrent in America sparked by the millions of folks living here without documents. Yes, many of those folks speak Spanish. Yes, there are more of them — legal or otherwise — living here than ever. And no, that is not going to change.
In other words, it isn’t a white man’s America anymore.
And apparently, some people can’t handle that. Or perhaps, by the time the Coke ad ran — in the second half of the game — the Bud Light was flowing more freely. Either way, the Ugly Americans beat up the Beautiful Americans about as badly as the Seahawks beat the Broncos.
Frankly, I’m getting more than a little tired of hearing from angry America. I’m also less than fond of knee-jerk America. And when you combine the two with the Internet, you too often get stupid America, which is really annoying.
Face facts, folks: A lot of people came here not speaking English. We like to think that they all quickly learned it. Some did; many didn’t. But, their kids did. And their kids speak English; many probably couldn’t speak the grandparents’ native language if they wanted to.
So get a grip: We’re not being overrun by hordes of Spanish speakers. Just like always, we’re growing a new crop of Americans. They are enriching the country. They are working hard, paying taxes. And they will create future Nobel Prize winners and future presidents and future titans of industry.
In short, they will make America beautiful.
We can all drink to that.