Saturday, February 8, 2014

As American As...

I don't know much about my family ancestry.  Irish for sure.  English and Welsh too I understand [O'Keefe, Hill, Hannon, Barrett - That's as far back as I can go].  At some point in my life I believed that there was some Native American thrown in there too.  But I might have talked myself into believing that because when I was a kid we all wanted to be a little bit Native American.  We are a nation of immigrants.  No two ways about it.  Even the Indians are immigrants as their ancestors descended from northeast Asia - coming across the now submerged land bridge between Siberia and Alaska.  That was 12,000 years ago but, technically even the Amerindians immigrated from across the sea.

There has been a lot of research lately that indicates southeast Asians who lived in Australia may have come to what are now the Americas as long as 13,500 years ago, well before the people from northeast Asia.

We didn't watch the Super Bowl (and that movie theater we were in was amazingly empty), but I heard about the ads.  It seems to a lot of folks the halftime show and the ads overshadowed the game.  But I heard about the Coke ad above and just Youtubed it.  Impressive.  I am not a big fan of sugary drinks (aside from lemonade, when it's really hot, and you've been doing yard work, and your shirt is sticking to your back, and sweat is dripping into your eyes...  Then I could drink a dangerous amount.  But I digress).  But I appreciated this advertisement.  It doesn't make me want to drink an ice cold Coke.  But it makes me proud to live in a country where we are so diverse and now, for so many Americans, we are coming to grips with our diversity.  We are celebrating our differences.  We are slowly moving in a direction of racial harmony, social justice, impartiality, open and honest discourse.  Oddly, this advertisement made me feel patriotic.

Just 50 years ago, the Old South was as segregated as it could be.  Elementary school classrooms were just becoming integrated.  And from the stories my friends and neighbors tell me... it wasn't easy.  The grandfather of one of my third grade students was among the very first African Americans to enter the University of South Carolina's graduate school.  That was in 1963.  Look how far we've come.

While racism, homophobia, sexism and intolerance of all kinds still exists, you can't deny that we are moving into a more pluralistic society.  Today, my third grade class is beautifully integrated.  We are not color blind, and there are some issues that come up about getting along with each other.  But they have nothing to do with race. Black, white, brown, mixed race - you should see our class picture.

Seeing the beautiful ad above did it's job for me (not the buying Coke job, the feel good about America job).  But don't you know it had to outrage some people, people who think that if you're not speaking "American", you are unAmerican.

Let's go to Glen Beck for his take...
And I said, "Why did you need to divide us politically?  Because that's all this ad is.  It's in your face, and if you don't like it, you're a racist.  If you do like it, you're for immigration.  You're for progress.  That's all it is: to divide people."  

Who is trying to divide people?  Surely not Glen Beck.

*Couldn't make out that song they were singing. I only speak English.
*So was Coca-Cola saying America is beautiful because new immigrants don't learn to speak English?
*Coca Cola is the official soft drink of illegals crossing the border.
Thus tweeted Todd Starnes from FOX " "News" ".

So people who speak a language other than English are "illegals"?

If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing "American the Beautiful" in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come -- doggone we are on the road to perdition. This was a truly disturbing commercial for me...  This the view of Former GOP Rep. Allen West, another Fox " "News" " contributor.


  [per-dish-uhn]  Show IPA
a state of final spiritual ruin; loss of the soul; damnation.
the future state of the wicked.
hell  def 1 .
utter destruction or ruin.

Allen West thinks America is going to HELL because Coke played an ad with a patriotic song performed in some of the many languages spoken in our country?

I don't think these folks are stupid.  They all make a ton of money doing what they do.  

However... on second thought, maybe are they just plain dull.  Don't Glen Beck, Todd Starnes and Allen West realize that their ancestors were immigrants, that all of our common ancestors come from Africa?   Do they not know any Americans for whom English is not their primary language?  Are they not friends with any gay people?  Do they really not realize that we are a multicultural society where the straight-white-male isn't the only  perspective?  

Or maybe they are just scared.  America is changing.  White men aren't the only ones with power now.  And if their goal is to maintain that grip on power, they must feel pretty defeated.

If their published views on cultural diversity weren't so ignorant, I'd feel sorry for these guys.  In the meantime, their old road is rapidly aging.  

Come gather 'round people 
Wherever you roam 
And admit that the waters 
Around you have grown 
And accept it that soon 
You'll be drenched to the bone 
If your time to you 
Is worth savin' 
Then you better start swimmin' 
Or you'll sink like a stone 
For the times they are a-changin'. 

Come writers and critics 
Who prophesize with your pen 
And keep your eyes wide 
The chance won't come again 
And don't speak too soon 
For the wheel's still in spin 
And there's no tellin' who 
That it's namin' 
For the loser now 
Will be later to win 
For the times they are a-changin'. 

Come senators, congressmen 
Please heed the call 
Don't stand in the doorway 
Don't block up the hall 
For he that gets hurt 
Will be he who has stalled 
There's a battle outside 
And it is ragin' 
It'll soon shake your windows 
And rattle your walls 
For the times they are a-changin'. 

Come mothers and fathers 
Throughout the land 
And don't criticize 
What you can't understand 
Your sons and your daughters 
Are beyond your command 
Your old road is 
Rapidly agin' 
Please get out of the new one 
If you can't lend your hand 
For the times they are a-changin'. 

The line it is drawn 
The curse it is cast 
The slow one now 
Will later be fast 
As the present now 
Will later be past 
The order is 
Rapidly fadin' 
And the first one now 
Will later be last 
For the times they are a-changin'.

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