Thoughts on the Coca Cola “America” Commercial
I didn’t understand the Coca Cola “America” advertisement and to be completely honest, I don’t think they should have cast it as a tribute to America because that’s not what it was, judging by the content.
It easily could have been billed as a “Humanity” or “Celebrate our Diversity” sort of commercial. But there is a vast difference between showing all the diversity of the Earth and the beauty of its denizens, and showing what America is about. Diversity is not the most significant part of it.
Now, I understand why they made it- show America the salad bowl, we have people from all over the world here, we are a tolerant society becoming more tolerant as time goes on, etc etc etc- all wonderful messages. But together they are not the American story nor its heritage- merely a piece of it.
America has always been about universalism, and never about multiculturalism, though it has always been multicultural. Though every group indeed contributes to the broader American heritage, and quite usefully and beautifully at that, it is more significant that groups integrate and become ‘Americans.’ There are a couple of tropes- cowboys, immigrants, citizen-soldiers, entrepreneurs, entertainers, engineers, pioneers, among others- that more profoundly exhibit what America is about. These are the ways of life that ought to be praised in a tribute to America as a whole.
Because by the American code, it’s not who your ancestors were and where you came from that defines who you are- it’s what you do, and how you contribute to the broader society at large. Everyone is free to keep and celebrate their particular identity, but when we’re talking about America as an idea, all identities must be submerged and the broader American idea made supreme.
Is this fundamentally a sinister and grossly unfair way of looking at things? I don’t doubt it. But a shared heritage does much, much more to create unity than any accolades of diversity can ever hope to do. And if America needs anything now and forever, it is unity.I don’t think the Coca Cola ad did anything at all to promote a shared American identity.
Also these freaking rednecks need to calm down, Coca Cola is totally still American.
Bear in mind that I thoroughly believe in the universality of human nature and the dignity of every human being. I study the works of the cultures of the world, seeking the commonalities and appreciating the differences, pondering the ways of Man and considering the mysteries of human life and their implications for human politics. I have networks of close friends across Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, and I am hoping to travel extensively around the world as a major component of my career. My favorite song is Chinese. My favorite book is Italian. My tastes and relationships span the globe; the sun never sets upon them. I hope that no one interprets my understanding of Americanism as jingoistic, chauvinistic, immature, unrealistic.
But I avow that I am a proud American nationalist, believing in my country and its virtues and its vices, pledging it my support, serving it unto death. And in looking for what is right for my country, our modern age presents us with an inescapable fact- the American national identity is declining, perhaps to a dangerous degree. We need not wait til our decay is so far advanced that the ethnonationalism of the Old World makes a resurgence and causes our internal dissolution. To be strong, it is our imperative to increase our social capital, our public credit, our republican virtue, in the interests of the United States of America. We are a strong people, and a free one at that. But unless we are truly a people- unless we have a shared and common identity- unless we know who we are- then we face a tumultuous future.
No media which portrays America as something which it is not is doing America any help. Every person who believes in America for what it is- with all the good and evil alloyed- and loves it still, is helping America as much as they can.
Aaaaand on a lighter note, here is a picture that was probably supposed to be inspiring.