One of the great things about Super Bowl Sunday is the inventive advertising produced for the event. Advertising is used to encourage people to take or continue an action. The Latin root, ad verte, is a call to turn inward. It has been a tool of social communication as far back as early Egypt, Pompeii and Greece. While primarily used to promote products and business, commercial goods and services, its power has been harnessed to create awareness, a desire for assimilation, advancement and growth.
One of the great commercials of the modern age is the 1970s Coca-Cola commercial, with the flagship tune, "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing." That song crossed generations — it is well remembered by members of the greatest generation and baby boomers alike. Even today, the catchy lyrics can be heard in many circles and hearken back to the Civil Rights era, the hippie movement, the Vietnam War and the dawn of the era of social reconciliation.
Coca-Cola again shook our foundation this past Super Bowl Sunday with an ad filled with faces of the many colors of America — in big cities, on waterfronts, the heartlands, the Grand Canyon. The ad was underpinned by a soulful, haunting rendition of "America the Beautiful" in English, Spanish, Hebrew, Tagalog, Arabic, and other languages, sung by children and filled with images of lovers, meals shared, bowling, games, dancing in the streets, family vacations. It evoked memory, family, friends, inter-cultural solidarity and harmony. It was real, multi-cultural, compelling — and it revolved around times when Americans might drink a Coke.
And the Twitter-sphere erupted. Facebook posts filled with foul recriminations, blogs spouted disdain for the use of "America the Beautiful" for such a presentation of American culture. How infuriated they were that it was not sung in English.
So sad. Alas, it's really true. There are those among us who still don't get it. There are those who would keep America segregated and barefoot, stuck in a reality that never was. There are those who would prefer that we all go back where we came from; although I don't quite know where that would be or where they, themselves, would go.
Our nation is made up of many parts. There is no official language; there is a common language. We speak many languages and our ancestors come from many places. Immigrants still travel to become a part of our society.
Our smelting pot is a tossed salad of humanity. America, the great experiment, is peopled with souls originating from different places, languages, religions, cultures and traditions. We have different political affiliations. We all carry different stories. But we are one. We are beautiful. And the haters will not have the final say.