America For Thought

“And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”


Like many Americans, I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday for the advertisements. And like many Americans, I was a little disappointed.  But one advertisement really got America talking, from sea to shining sea.


I’m originally from Atlanta, so I feel pretty confident as an unofficial commentator of all things Coca Cola. Their advertising, as a rule, is always sentimental happy stuff. It slathers on the “we can all be friends, and Coke can help!” imagery, whether it’s in the 1971 classic, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” (find it here: or in the wintertime antics of polar bears and penguins (who, in the natural world, are anything but harmonious). It’s non-offensive. It’s fun. It’s peace-and-harmony. And it’s not un-American.


Nor is (and I’m sure you all agree) the commercial they aired on Sunday.  But up went the blood pressure of the ignorant, and out spoke the opinionated who never refine their opinions.  And the complaints were laughable.  I’ve taken the liberty of responding to a few of them here.  On your behalf, of course.


Ignorant Comment 1: “It started in English, now it’s all in gobblety language you can’t understand.”  

So what? So the commercial soundtrack is sung in multiple languages. Apropos, considering it’s highlighting the gorgeous pastiche of people that make up our country. Just because we’re in America needn’t make us ignorant and oblivious to foreign languages. And how do you expect us to be the leader of the free world if we can’t communicate with other free worlds?


Ignorant Comment 2: “Why are you singing the National Anthem in another language?” one Tweeter asked.

Well. It’s not the National Anthem. Next question?


Ignorant Comment 3: “Why are they singing a Christian song in non-Christian languages?”

This one I loved.  Languages are not inherently religious, and the song isn’t Christian.  It talks about God.  Lots of people, who speak many different languages, sing about God and country.  It just so happens that this time around, they’re singing about America.


Ignorant Comment 4: “The people shown on the screen aren’t Americans.  They’re immigrants.”

This was my favorite comment of all.  Let’s move beyond the obvious mistakes of that statement and look at the song lyrics: One half of America the Beautiful about the pilgrims coming to America from their original country of nationality in order to find freedom. The other half is about defending those freedoms (like freedom of religion, of speech, of expression) against anything that would impinge upon them. Now, if you want to be able to tell if someone is a National by looking at them, or listening to them, you need to move to a smaller country.


Ignorant Comment 5. It’s less of a complaint, and more of blind oxymoron. Twitter user Saved By The Blood said, “Hey @CocaCola This is America. English, please.”

This is a gem out of Oklahoma, for sure.  She’s juxtaposed a professed love of Jesus (in her Twitter name) with a statement he would abhor. @vonzion, Jesus talked about helping Samaritans and loving your neighbor, so if you want to make a big deal about being “Saved By The Blood”, you need to work a little better at acting like he did. Everything you’re projecting right now is inauthentic.  


America the Beautiful wraps up by asking God to “crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.” I’m wondering if the bible-thumpers who criticized the ad have ever thought about the words to the song, or the laws that established America. Right now, I’m not convinced they have.


Honestly, it’s reassuring that the uproar raised over the Coca Cola commercial is now a laughable thing. “What are you talking about?” says popular opinion. What’s the big deal  We’re all a tossed salad, a melting pot.  @Ashley Karlsson said, “Thanks @CocaCola for reminding us that we are beautiful because of and not in spite of our linguistic diversity.”  


Now there’s the brotherhood we were looking for. #AmericaIsBeautiful




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