America the Beautiful

Watching the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is a pleasure.  Seeing the story about the -50 degree F. winters in Siberia makes me feel like ours has not been such a big deal after all.  But then I digress…

I was quite disgusted to see the ruckus created by that Coca-Cola commercial (America the Beautiful sung in multiple languages).  “Speak American!” its detractors shouted.

Speak American?  Well, gee, what is American? Is it the language of the immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe who fled their countries to the U.S. East Coast in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?  Or maybe the Asians and Pacific Islanders who came here to the West Coast around the same time?  Or could it be the groups from Latin America who have sought the U.S. out as a haven for decades and decades?  What about the refugees settled here by the United Nations and the Catholic and Lutheran Charities, such as the Burmese?  Perhaps it is  just the native Americans who all those others pushed out of their ageless homelands. Are they the only ones speaking “American”? Or maybe, just maybe, it is all of them.

What do you want to bet that those detractors’ ancestors didn’t speak “American”, either?

Save for those from the British Isles, no one came to these shores speaking English.  They spoke every language on earth, but over time they or their children all learned.  They all came here to make a better life.  All of them adapted, brought their hopes, dreams, talents and hard work to this great nation.  And yes, no matter what their language, all of them speak and are “American”.

This country is a strong, vibrant amalgam of all the countries of the world.  That is what America is about.  And when Coca-Cola plays a commercial where different ethnic and cultural groups sing America the Beautiful in their native languages, THAT is a beautiful thing.  It is who we are.  It is what makes us unique in world history.  It is what makes us great.  In all its colors, races, peoples AND languages, America IS beautiful.


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