I never got into pro-football. Now give me a good college game on a fall Saturday afternoon, and I am your girl. In fact, I am currently sporting my very own National Championship tee-shirt featuring my hometown team, the Florida State Seminoles! We also have drawers full of National Championship shirts from my husband’s home state of Alabama… Roll Tide! (Sorry Auburn fans… you probably don’t like me very much right now) This house loves football, just not of the NFL variety. Never really had a dog in the fight.
But there were years when I actually did watch the Super Bowl because of the halftime entertainment, or the commercials. I mean who doesn’t love an occasional breast slipping out on national TV or multi-million dollar commercials about talking M&M’s or a cute kid in a darth vadar costume? The past couple of years though, thanks to the World Wide Web, I haven’t watched the game. I mean everything you want to see will be online roughly 41 seconds after it airs live, your Facebook and Twitter will be nothing but for days, and besides… there was a Law and Order SVU marathon on this year. Sorry, NFL. A “Benson Bowl” is gonna win out every time.
Every year there seems to be some big to-do surrounding a commercial or a halftime performance. Some big scandal. Some big hoopla to get us all riled up on a Monday morning when we should be otherwise productive members of society. This year’s controersy seems to be the Coca-Cola commercial where folks from several different cultures sang part of “America the Beautiful” in different languages. You can view the video here… or by scrolling down your Facebook newsfeed for two seconds.
People were outraged! This is America! Our servicemen and women didn’t fight for this country so that we could have our beloved song sung in another language! People are calling for a boycott of the company. They vow never to drink another sip of the glorious nectar of the gods again. How DARE they?!
So I watched the video this morning. I thought it was actually pretty beautiful. Voices of children from all walks of life… singing about the beauty of this amazing country we all share. Pretty profound if you ask me. Didn’t make me want to run out and buy a coke… but let’s be honest I have struggled with a diet coke addiction for years. (Relax, I am down to less than one a day… stop sending me the links about what it does to a penny.) But here is what the commercial also didn’t do:
It did not promote illegal immigration into this country. I looked several times. There were no images of anyone being smuggled over our border. I saw no clips of politicians talking of amnesty. It showed a beautiful diversity. It DID not promote an ILLEGAL diversity.
It did not desecrate a sacred song. “America the Beautiful” is indeed a beloved song. But it is not our National Anthem. It is not our Pledge of Allegiance. I was dismayed to see people online who actually thought that it was. But, and hear me out here, what if it WAS? What if the commercial showed people from all walks of life singing our National Anthem in a respectful, reverent way… but in another language? So? Today it is not out of the ordinary to see people who have such little respect for the traditions of this country… that they refuse to stand for the flag, won’t remove a hat, or are too busy on their phones to sing the National Anthem when it is played in a public setting. We have all seen it. I don’t know about you, but it infuriates me. I would much rather see someone stand and respectfully sing the anthem in Hebrew, Spanish, French… than to see them disrespect our flag in the manner so many choose.
It disrespected our military and the sacrifices they have made. No. No it did not. Our AMERICAN military is made up of men and women from many, many different ethnic backgrounds. Our military is truly a representation of the diversity of our entire nation… it is a melting pot in every sense of the word. Anyone who has lived in a military community for two minutes can attest to this. Our neighbors and friends speak different languages, have different cultural backgrounds… we are diverse. Just go to a potluck dinner in a military neighborhood… what is set out on the table is a mixture from all over the world. Our military are not just English speaking. They do not look a certain way, or sound a certain way. Yet they all come together to put their lives on the line for the entire country. Although they are very different individuals, they are bound together by one promise they each made to this nation: To protect and defend… even if it means laying down their own life.
As with any controversy, perhaps there is a silver lining to this entire discussion. Perhaps it took a commercial about a fizzy product to remind us of the rich beauty we have all around us. We are all a part of the AMERICAN tapestry, and what does that mean?
It means we are made up of many different colors… and those colors are deep, vibrant, and give us something beautiful to look at.
It means our voices sound different than our neighbor… and they produce rich harmonies and melodies that are glorious to hear.
It means we have different thoughts and opinions… and as a result we are forced to learn and grow and evolve.
It means we have the capacity to accept things we may not understand… which is why we are the beacon of light and the most desired place on earth.
We are blessed to live in this country… with this evolving, beautiful, glorious and accepting tapestry. All of us.
Besides, as someone on Facebook reminded me today… at least we can count our lucky stars that this year’s controversy didn’t involve Miley Cyrus in an American flag thong, twearking with her tongue out to God Bless America. I think we can ALL agree we are happy about that.
Ahhhh… but there is always next year. Diet coke, anyone?