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Monday, February 03, 2014

It's Beautiful

I have seen a whole mess of commercials for the Superbowl. There was the good, the bad and the ugly fully represented in this year's batch. But this one deeply resonated with me.



There are a lot of good things to celebrate about the United States. There are some things that aren't super great (in that case you have to take the good with the bad). No doubt I'm a fan of the red, white and blue.

I can't claim that I got my citizenship by merit but my family had the fortitude to chase after opportunity within Uncle Sam's shores. I got mine by birthright while they applied for citizenship legally, became super productive and contributed to the local economy.

But what's crazy is that anonymous Internet people belligerently saying things like, "The song is supposed to be sung in ENGLISH!" or "Speak English!". Can you imagine yelling that to the little bi-lingual kids who helped translate and sing this familiar song?

Some comments are even going as far as implying that Coca-Cola is brain washing Americans to accept many un-American (read "liberal") agendas. Maybe or maybe not. The thing that I get from this commercial is optimism and joy. Plus the United States has a lot of different types of people, if you travel around.

I remember singing this song when I was little. Maybe 3rd or 4th grade. We sang our little out-of-tune hearts from under the buzzing fluorescent classroom lights. My favorite music teacher at the time gave us one verse to belt out. She taught us the words, metaphors, and broad meanings America, the Beautiful.

I sat in the folding chair reflecting on what the teacher was saying. Rolling waves of amber? Whoa. Mountains so far away they look purple under the setting sun? WHAT!?! The sky that is broad and wide as the east is far from the west? WTF?!?!? The concept of grace as a gift??? HOLY!!! I just had the ideas of creative writing, melody, and artistic vision impressed into my kid brain.

So when I read stirred up comments about the commercial from "true American" viewers I just shake my head. I'm patriotic like Captain America but I want to say to those "true Americans" you guys got to get outside of yourselves. Please break out of your comfortable, nationalistic, ethno-centric, political restraints because they're holding you back. A quick glance at Wikipedia the hymn melody was used by the former University of Shanghai, Hong Kong's Shanghai Alumni Primary School and Hujiang High School in Taiwan.

As a fan of good advertising - more importantly optimism - I like this every-so-slightly saccarine commercial. I'm not saying we need to just take everything we see and hear as truth but to examine it and to see if it better us overall. Take it for what it is like a curious child not like a fuddy-dud bringing political and insecure emotional baggage.
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