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One of Coca-Cola's ad agencies produced and ran this sweetly sentimental and overtly multilingual 6-second Super Bowl ad during yesterday's big game.

In reaction to this ad, a high school classmate of mine posted this on her Facebook wall:

that Commercial just TICKED me off! Don't sing AMERICA the beautiful in all sorts of languages...this is AMERICA..SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!
My off-the-cuff reply below the fold.

My great-great++++ grandfather came to this country on the Mayflower speaking Shakespearean English. My great+++ grandfather fought in the American Revolution and spoke the King's English. My great grandfathers came here from Germany and from French Canada speaking no English. Their stories are all part of our history.

We are a former British colony which, after revolting, bought land from France, Spain, and Russia, and took land from native peoples (Inuit, Hawaiians, and dozens of Native American tribes). We made ourselves rich with railroads built by Chinese workers and cotton picked by African slaves. We populated our country with immigrants from every corner of Europe, and more recently from every corner of the world.

Each of them brought their own language, their own experience, and made their own contribution to America the Beautiful. We forget this at times, but it's a mistake when we do.

I'm curious to see how polarizing this becomes among the old classmates.

This whole "issue" seems to hit at the core of an identity gap between rural/conservative America and urban/progressive America. (Disclosure: I was raised the former but as an adult identify as the latter.) Many of my small-town conservative friends seem to envision the United States as a something it isn't.

The US history I was taught it grade school went something like this. We are a nation of heroes. With a few recent and minor exceptions, they were English-speaking white men. We sailed here on the Mayflower to defend Christianity, then fought the Revolution to defend Liberty. Since then we expanded and mostly prospered. We encountered other groups and other cultures along the way, but didn't really need or hurt any of them.

If this is your perception of reality, then I understand why you'd be against income equality, racial equality, immigrant rights, and international diplomacy. I just don't understand how a basic understanding of our history could lead anyone to think that's who we really are.

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