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    Posted February 3, 2014 by
    mitzimcadam
    Location
    Cumming, Georgia
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    First Person: Your essays

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    I'd Like To Teach The World To Chill

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Mitzi McAdam of Cumming, Georgia, says she knew there would be backlash as soon as she saw the Coca-Cola ad during the Super Bowl. The ad started out as a display of American diversity showing Americans of different heritages as "America the Beautiful" played in the background. But, when the song was sung in different languages in addition to English, viewers took to social media in protest.

    McAdam is married to an immigrant who is now a naturalized citizen. “Perhaps that is why I am not bothered by the idea of a patriotic American song being translated into languages spoken by others that make up our rich history. The words to the very song being fussed over celebrate those coming from other places in search of our nation’s promise.”

    “If we've come to a point where a TV spot can be a catalyst for spewing disdain for all who don't agree with us about it, then we, as a people, are in worse shape than I ever imagined,” she said.

    What's your take on the Coke Super Bowl ad? Respond in the comments below, or share your own commentary here.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    The minute I saw it I knew. Claws would come out. Vitriol would ooze. Social media would light up like the rocket’s red glare. One of our nations's most iconic brands had given us an “un-American” commercial during the most American of events. After the Coke Super Bowl commercial aired, I expected the conversation that ensued. I did not expect the “my way or the highway” mentality of it.


    How can an advertisement be so divisive? Are we so polarized that we immediately choose a side and hunker down at the mere hint of disagreement over… anything and everything? You are with us or against us? Some have the impression that everyone right of center collectively spit out their Coke at Super Bowl parties nationwide. I’ve seen plenty of conservative bashing in the media today. I’ve also seen conservatives come out in support of the ad and its message, and there are probably some liberals somewhere that didn't care for the ad. I hate to see a line drawn down the political middle where the assumption is that your opinion on everything will be identical to everyone else with whom you identify politically. Life is too complex and multifaceted for that. Most things are not black and white. They are fifty-thousand shades of gray.


    I am married to an immigrant, now a naturalized citizen. Perhaps that is why I am not bothered by the idea of a patriotic American song being translated into languages spoken by others that make up our rich history. The words to the very song being fussed over celebrate those coming from other places in search of our nation’s promise:


    O beautiful for pilgrim feet
    Whose stern impassioned stress
    A thoroughfare for freedom beat
    Across the wilderness…

     

    That said, I am not standing in judgment of those who say they are offended by the Coke commercial. The same way that approving of the commercial does not make a person anti-American, being put off by the ad does not make someone a simple-minded xenophobe. Another person’s vantage point and life experience might bring them to a different conclusion about it. Perhaps their child attends a school where more and more of the students do not speak English. Perhaps they are worried that teachers must spend increasing time and resources addressing this, and they worry that their child has educational needs that might slip through the cracks as a result.


    I, for one, welcome multiple viewpoints and enjoy healthy debate. I'm also a firm believer in voting with your dollars, so if the commercial offended you, by all means, go ahead and boycott Coke. Consider giving up soft drinks altogether and donate the money you save to a cause you believe in. You’ll feel good to be positive and proactive instead of just angry and reactive.


    In America, our convictions and opinions are as vast as our heritage. However, if we've come to a point where a TV spot can be a catalyst for spewing disdain for all who don't agree with us about it, then we, as a people, are in worse shape than I ever imagined. It might be time to step back and ask ourselves why sixty seconds during a football game can lead us to hate.


    America! America!
    God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law.

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