***And Why Everyone Is Wrong But Me on This Issue!***
Do you remember where you were at the time when the infamous Coca~Cola Commercial first aired? I remember where was on that fateful night when I was eagerly awaiting for the trailers for my upcoming movies. There happened to be a football game on. When the commercial aired, I thought nothing of the sort. *** Then those kids started singing in gibberish. This is ‘Murica, we speaka da ENGUISH here! (Free beer for those who can count the correct number of stereotypes in that sentence).
But seriously, when I saw this commercial, I thought, “Oh boy, there are going to be people from all sides that are going to take this commercial the wrong way.” Lo and behold, Twitter, Facebook and Blogs erupted a couple of minutes later with emotions ranging from pride, anger, bewilderment, joy, to gastric cramps.
There are many underpinning thoughts that are being voiced in this commercial. The two that I will address will be the America, Fµ¢Æ Yeah Crowd and The Multiculturalism Crowd (In Part 2).
To better illustrate my point, I would like to borrow the ideas of George Will and Alexis de Tocqueville. So lets put the Coca-Cola commercial on the back burner and look at this idea of American Exceptionalism.
You have heard of the phrase “American Exceptionalism.” People think that is a crude form of “American Nationalism.” No, No; the idea traces back to de Tocqueville. Who, the author of the greatest book ever written by one country by the citizen of another; Democracy in America.
He said, “Americans are exceptional because unlike Europeans, Americans were born free. Free that is from feudalism, free therefore from an entrenched aristocracy and an established church. Americans have an exceptional revolution; one that did not try to give them happiness but set them free to pursue happiness as each individual defined it. Americans have an exceptional Constitution; one that doesn’t say what the government must do for them but what the government may not do to them.
We are exceptional because of one word in the Declaration, the most important word in the Declaration of Independence is SECURE. “All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…” and governments are instituted among men to SECURE those rights, not to give us our rights, the rights pre-exist government. The government is not a fountain of rights, it exists solely to defend natural rights.”
So Caneda, you got all of that out of a Coca-Cola commercial? Yes, but the point I’m making may be lost amongst the vitriolic statements made on Facebook statuses and Tweets rants.
If an American citizen operates from this foundational belief, though not perfect, I think that one can look at this commercial with a sense of pride. At the very least, it really says something that these children are singing America the Beautiful as opposed to their country’s song. Perhaps they thought that America was a better place than where they came from?
Those who voiced their outrage over the fact that if you live here, you MUST speak English are not fully embracing the notion of American Exceptionalism because they are coming from a sense of arrogance. American Exceptionalism sets us apart from many nations, but that it does not make us any better than anyone else. But American Exceptionalism does offer something to its citizens that one can’t find in any other country; hence the reason why these children are singing America’s praises.
“All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…” and governments are instituted among men to SECURE those rights, not to give us our rights, the rights pre-exist government. The government is not a fountain of rights, it exists solely to defend natural rights.”
Unlike many nations, our Declaration and our Constitution make us unique because it does not give us rights, it protects the rights we already have. Many countries might hold to this philosophy now, but we were born with it. Many of our forefathers had to twist and manipulate this philosophy in order to engage in horrendous behaviors (Slavery, Jim Crowe, Etc) but the philosophy of America, though not perfect, is sound and will eventually expel any impurities. That’s why at the breaking away from our Motherland, if our Founders actually applied the notion that “All Men Are Created Equal… Endowed by their Creator…” slavery could not exist. But, for better and a lot of worse, they allowed the necessary evil to exist KNOWING that this document will eventually mean the doom for all enslaved peoples of the United States of America.
If the children in the Coca~Cola commercial were from countries that espoused freedom and independence then perhaps they would be singing their nation’s praises.
But is there weight to speaking English in the United States? If you move here, should there be an imperative to learn this country’s language? That and many more will be discussed in Part 2 of Coca~Cola & American Exceptionalism…
*** That’s sarcasm, stupid! ***