Monday, February 03, 2014

Coke --- Celebrating America

Inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is a poem written by Emma Lazarus.  The poem was written to help raise funds for the construction of the pedestal.  The poem is titled: The New Colossus was read at the fundraiser for the pedestal but seems to have been quickly forgotten.  In 1901 an effort began to recognize the poem and in 1903 it was attached to the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

In case you are not familiar with the poem here it is (although you probably are familiar with the ending):

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,With conquering limbs astride from land to land;Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall standA mighty woman with a torch, whose flameIs the imprisoned lightning, and her nameMother of Exiles. From her beacon-handGlows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes commandThe air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame."Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries sheWith silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The last few lines have become well known in the USA.  "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Last night during the "Super Bowl" Coke ran a commercial called "America the Beautiful" in which the song was sung by Americans of all different races and tongues.  (Coca Cola Super Bowl Ad)  The internet and twitter worlds exploded with reaction against the commercial.  Why?  How dare an American sing "America the Beautiful" in any other language than English!  The ignorance and racism was appalling.

To say I was surprised would be a lie, I am sad however that in 2014 we still stick to our crazy notion that the good ole USA should only be filled with good ole white rednecks. 

I don't want to sound like some kind of self-righteous person.  I have to battle my racism almost every day.  But battle it I do!  And I celebrate when a corporation has the chutzpa to help me overcome it.  It was a beautiful commercial, and my favorite along with the Bud commercial with the horse and the dog.  I think I will go have a Diet Coke (instead of my normal Diet Rite).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent take. E Pluribus Unum doesn't appear to be written in the English language yet it seems to be on the dollar bill in my wallet. The Xenophobia is rather appalling.

However, it seems troublesome that so many religious ideas exist in America but we pubicly support just one of them. The nation's newer motto, In God We Trust seems to directly conflict the E Pluribus Unum message. Perhaps the mixed messaging contributes to the intolerance.