Cola-Cola Super Bowl ad should not spark controversy among Americans

By Benjamin Linares

I love my country, and I like to consider myself a patriot. America never ceases to amaze me. We started out as an idea, an idea that all men are created equal. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The idea was so far-fetched, so rebellious, that only 56 men signed the document that includes that very quote. Today, we lead the world in every way possible: our economy is the largest, our military the strongest, our schools the best, our innovators the most inventive. We succeeded. It is for that reason that I am still shocked by some of the things we do and say.

For instance, last week The Coca-Cola Company took a thrashing for the commercial it aired on Super Bowl Sunday. The spot featured what I assume are American citizens, singing “America the Beautiful,” in their foreign, cultural tongues to a backdrop of some of our countries most beautiful places. People lit up: “why are they singing our country’s song in a different language?” “That’s not American!” “You have Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, all singing America the Beautiful, what is this?” I am a fan of the TV show Dallas, the main character of the show, J.R. Ewing, a wealthy oilman, has a famous quote that applies beautifully to this scenario, “Never pass up a good opportunity to shut-up.”

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Who do we think we are, Americans, the very people who built the world’s strongest country on diversity and equality, criticizing those two very things? We cannot forget that this country, the one that the world looks to for advice, was built by immigrants, by a diverse set of citizens. We were a melting pot, we are still a melting pot and we should always be a melting pot. We should embrace it. No other country in the world has the diversity that America does, and these diverse citizens are just that, citizens of the United States of America. We eat different food, we sing different songs, we partake in different hobbies and we speak different languages. But there is one thing we all have in common, we are all protected by the very rights our founding fathers, a diverse group of immigrants themselves, established for us in The Declaration of Independence.

Being American does not mean being white. It does not mean only speaking English and it does not mean being without culture. If these were the requirements, I myself would not be a citizen and last I checked I most certainly am. I am appalled by the grotesque language that was used to describe both The Coca-Cola Company and those in the commercial. This country has done great things, we can continue to do great things but not if we are so naïve and mean spirited. We have to embrace who we are before we can accomplish anything. I hope in the future we will think about what it actually means to be American before we criticize our own people. This is a beautiful country; let’s not let it fall to disgrace because of bullies and the misinformed. I am sure America will continue to amaze me, but I expect in an entirely different manner. We have the capacity to amaze the world, let’s not waste it on childish bickering and stupidity.