The Super Bowl was about as dramatic as an episode of “Sponge Bob” this year. The only thing keeping anyone’s attention was the anticipation of seeing whether Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers would wear more than a sock during the halftime show. Thankfully for all, he did. But just before halftime, a commercial got my attention as soon as I saw it. And it seemed to be one of the few things people have been talking about since Super Bowl Sunday came to an end.
I’m speaking of the ad run by Coca-Cola in which “America the Beautiful” is sung in a way I have never heard before—and I’m not alone. The song starts out in the usual way: “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain.” At this point, I was walking out of the room, until I heard the next verse, which was sung in Spanish. And then in Tagalog. Followed by Mandarin, Hindi, Hebrew, Keres, Senegalese-French, and Arabic. I stopped in my tracks. I knew right away that Coca-Cola had opened up a can of worms.
“I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony,” was a line from a classic Coke commercial years ago. Well, apparently when they taught the “world to sing,” they taught them “America the Beautiful.” And beautiful it was. To think of a bunch of first-generation immigrants singing, “For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plane! America! America!”
We Republicans claim over and over that we are not against immigration; we’re against illegal immigration. Don’t we want those from around the globe to come here because they think the American Dream is alive and well? Get the word out. Sing it loud and sing it often. We’ve been saying it ever since Lady Liberty set up shop in 1892.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” wrote Emma Lazarus in her famous sonnet that is mounted on the Statue that has greeted immigrants into the New York Harbor for over 120 years. Unfortunately, that is no longer the first thing most immigrants see when entering our country anymore.
Times have changed, and not for the better. We used to get more than just the tired and poor of other countries, but also the best and brightest. Not so much anymore. Now we get their uneducated and unskilled. It’s like being back at Pasadena City College.
A hundred years ago, immigrants did come to this country with the idea that America was beautiful. Russians, Spaniards, Irish, Poles: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. To me that was the message of the latest Coke commercial. Something we haven’t seen in these parts in quite some time. Al Gore, inventor of the Internet, mixed it up and said, “Out of one, many.” Cut Gore some slack. He’s an idiot in any language. But it is a very important distinction.
The idea of “Out of many, one” is we all come together, while “Out of one, many” means that we all start as one, and then go our separate ways. That’s multi-culturalism, which is not what America was founded upon. We have a culture, and this Coke commercial was emblematic of it.
Yes, they were all singing in their native tongue, but anyone who thinks that “God shed his grace on thee” is most definitely going to learn English and embrace the culture that is the U.S.A. They’re going to teach their children what a wonderful and historically different country the United States of America is. I’m sure of it.
And they’d better, because the schools won’t, starting in Kindergarten, and up through grad school, they’ll hear many things, but “America the Beautiful” will rarely, if ever, be one of them. So learn it in Spanish, or Arabic, or Senegalese-French for all I care. Because the idea of America being beautiful is the same in every language. These people are not the ones to worry about, trust me. Would you rather them be singing in English a song by the Chili Peppers? Be careful what you wish for.
Some people say they’ll never buy or drink another Coke product as long as they live. From a health standpoint, you’re probably doing yourself a favor. But if you take a step back, you’ll hear a song that is celebrating the wonders of our country. It might sound a little different, but it’s still there.
“E corona il tuo bene con la fratellanza da mare a mare splendente.”
Music to my ears, Italian style.
Scott Johnston – NEWSslinger Contributor
A longtime television Sports Producer/Writer, Scott Johnston is turning his attention away from baseball, football, and tennis and towards his favorite other sport: politics. A husband and father of two, Scott lives just north of Boston in the very blue state of Massachusetts. He writes about things other than politics in his blog . Originally from , Scott and his family moved to the Northeast almost 10 years ago and enjoy it very much, other than the winters and the politicians, both of which he finds cold, long (-winded), and hard to take.