The outrage by certain portions of the population after Coke aired its “America the Beautiful” ad during the Super Bowl has left me fuming. Not only is there a river of unintentional irony surrounding the “Patriots” that are upset by the spot, but a deep lake of ignorance that has driven the conversation.
The ad can be viewed below, but to sum it up, “America the Beautiful” is sung by a multitude of races in a multitude of languages. This has fanned the flames of nationalistic fury in those who are both ignorant of history and the grander significance of those in other cultures/nations singing this song from a geopolitical perspective.
Pretty much everyone knows that America was never populated by a white majority anytime prior to the colonization by England. After the colonies, states and then country were established, immigration fueled the growth of this nation, and in many ways still does today. What problem could there possibly be with someone from another nation (who has either migrated here, or has dreams of migrating here) singing “America the Beautiful” in their native language? English isn’t the official language of the United States – we have no official language as a country. That is a first, simple, obvious point.
The second point, that not many people will necessarily bring up or think about, is that America’s dominance on a global scale is split between its military power, economic power (based on the influence of the dollar as the reserve currency) and the cultural impact America has had on other nations.
The rush to immigrate was spurred by culture – a culture of opportunity, a culture of tolerance (even if this proved to be incorrect until a certain native percentage of people of that ethnic group was achieved, or multiple generations of Americans of that heritage were born) and as capitalism grew and exports became abundant, the culture of American brands.
Coke is the absolute most recognized brand in the world. McDonald’s is right up there as well, as are a number of other massive, worldwide American companies. And don’t think for one minute that these brands didn’t help to drive American culture abroad – they are invariably linked. “John Wayne, Coca Cola, McDonald’s!” This is what non-English speakers would yell at you in other countries to be friendly towards Americans.
The more other nations adopt American culture, the less chance there is of conflict, whether it be economically, socially or from a military standpoint. We are a capitalist Constitutional Republic and the best way in which to convince other societies to adopt this system is via the acceptance of our culture first. The United States has tried and failed to impress our way of life on others via force. All it does is rebound in a terrible way, as evidenced by the policies and reciprocal blowbacks of the past 50 years. The most important thing, and one that has been forgotten, despite its almost cliche status, is that “winning the hearts and minds” of those who would be your adversaries is paramount. If you have done that, victory is yours.
All of these people who are crying out that Coke has broken a taboo and insulted America should think on that. If the entire world had their own native version of “America the Beautiful” on tap, sung proudly and regularly, we would surely be a much more profitable, popular and safe nation. So let’s all get wildly bent out of shape over it, why don’t we? How ironic.