This is the op-ed I submitted to the Asheville Citizen-Times. It was published today and can be found here. - Pete
I admit, I’m surprised by folks who are offended by Coca-Cola’s “America Is Beautiful” TV ad.
The one-minute commercial during the Super Bowl featured people singing “America, The Beautiful” in various languages.
On his blog, conservative Republican and former US Rep. Alan West called it “disturbing” and proof the nation is on the “road to perdition.” On my radio show, I asked if people were offended. Many said yes.
To them, it wasn’t just an effort to get us to pour high fructose corn syrup and caramel flavored soda down our throats, but more so an attempt to sneak politically-correct multiculturalism down our gullets at the same time.
With recent reports the Republican Congressional leadership is talking about immigration reform - which many conservatives fear will be amnesty with window dressing - the Coke ad touched a nerve.
Offended conservatives are bringing their own political baggage to the ad and divining nefarious motives – something they, accurately, accuse the left of doing.
Conservatives are quick to point out when progressives turn innocuous comments from conservatives into allegations of racism, homophobia, and misogyny. It seems some on the right are willing to play the role of perpetually aggrieved, too.
Some critics say the song should only be sung in English and Coke is trying to desensitize Americans into accepting other languages as equal to English.
Does this mean there are to be no translations of any songs? Or only patriotic tunes? Who determines what’s patriotic? What if you’re singing to people who don’t speak English?
Would this apply to outside music?
Will I be forced to learn new English words for Egg Foo Yung and Arroz con Pollo?
The Coke ad not only a celebration of all the people who have come to this great nation, but it’s also a celebration of America - the Beautiful.
The use of different languages grabbed our attention (good for an ad to do) while representing the diversity of the people who make up our nation.
Coca-Cola is a private company and wants people of every race, creed, religion, and nationality to drink its product. This ad markets to everyone, while presenting the USA as the beautiful land it is – with wonderful people. That should not be offensive.
To me, the ad shows the allure of the “Shining City on a Hill” that beckons all to come with the promise of a better life, economic prosperity, liberty, and a nation upon which God shed his grace.
This is a message that should unify all Americans.
Here's the offensive and outrage-inducing ad: