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Offended by What America Is

February 4th, 2014

Yeah, time for more right-wing hate at an ad (this time for Coca-Cola) that tries to include more people and more diversity. Conservatives truly hate diversity. I mean, the whole idea of people coming here from all over the world to form a melting pot of cultures where everyone loves America—really, I ask you, how un-American is that?? How can you not be offended?

The commercial, clearly intended to be an outreach to as many people as possible who make up our nation, and a celebration of the fact that we have such richness in culture and language, royally pissed off those who see America as being white and English, as this writer from Breitbart suggested:

As far as the executives at Coca Cola are concerned, however, the United States of America is no longer a nation ruled by the Constitution and American traditions in which English is the language of government. It is not a nation governed in the Anglo-American tradition of liberty. It is instead a nation governed by some all inclusive multi-cultural synthesis of the various forms of government in the world, as expressed by the multiple languages used in the Super Bowl ad to sing a uniquely American hymn that celebrates our heritage.

I think you can call that “reading way too much into the message.” No more Constitution? Really? How the hell can you get that from the ad? Was there some subliminal message against the three branches of government that I somehow missed? And American traditions? Apparently, if it’s not white people singing in English, then it’s not “traditional America”? And “English is the language of government”—seriously, I do not recall seeing any government officials in the ad.

The next line is the giveaway: “It is not a nation governed in the Anglo-American tradition of liberty.” First, how was anything in that ad not about liberty? But “Anglo-American”? How could the writer be more clear without saying “white”? In other words, America must be white to be free; you can’t have liberty with all these foreigners running around speaking other languages. It just won’t do.

Here is someone who sees other colors and other languages, and cannot help but feel oppressed by “various forms of government in the world.” They’re taking over!

Glenn Beck also crystallized the racial fear:

“So somebody tweeted last night and said, ‘Glenn, what did you think of the Coke ad?’ And I said, ‘Why did you need that to divide us politically?’” he said on his radio show. “Because that’s all this ad is. It’s in your face, and if you don’t like it, if you’re offended by it, you’re a racist. If you do like it, you’re for immigration. You’re for progress. That’s all this is: To divide people.”

He’s actually very correct in one respect, though I don’t think he meant to be. If you watch an ad where people of different races join together to sing praise to America, and you are offended by the fact that there were people of different races doing that… well, I hate to say it, but yes—you’re probably at least somewhat racist.

But as far as dividing people? Those who would show unity in diversity are not the ones dividing us. It’s the ones who hate diversity who are dividing us. We are, after all, a diverse nation; it’s the core of what we are. It’s the (original) national motto: e pluribus unum, “from many, one.” People like Beck want to push away anything that is not white and speaking English, or at least trying its best to imitate that. They embrace the “one,” so long as it is the right color and language, and reject the “many.”

You cannot do that. We are many. To deny that, to claim that America is white and English-only is to deny our history, to deny our origins, to deny the core of our very identity.

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  1. Troy
    February 4th, 2014 at 12:42 | #1

    Without the racists, gun nuts, religious nutters, preppers, etc. the Republican coalition would be just a bunch of millionaires and billionaires, kinda like how it was in the 1930s I guess when Dems had 80% of the House and Senate (back then the Dems had the “Solid South” of course).

    This country needs more division. Some people are wrong. Some are right. And some people who are right about some things are wrong about others, and vice versa.

    To figure out which is which, we can’t just sing kumbaya or some feel-good Coke jingle for that matter.

    Racism / “white power”, and conservatism in general, is wrong. The future belongs to those willing to change, to experiment, to fail.

    Thing is, people do get more conservative as they get older. That’s the one thing the current Republican coalition has going for it. People kinda don’t like change, and we tend to view the past through a filter that strips out the more unpleasant stuff.

    Conservatives must push some very powerful emotional buttons to counter-act how shitty the rest of their ideology is here in the real world.

  2. Troy
    February 4th, 2014 at 13:22 | #2



    Cindy Sheehan and “how many more?” — turns out we were only halfway through the US casualties 8 years ago. 2,242 KIA then, another ~2200 2006-2009, and 115 in 2010 through to when we left in 2012.

    Conservatives have yet to owning up to destroying this nation’s fisc, 2002-2006, what with their top-biased tax cuts, financial deregulation, combined with unrestrained war spending.


    Then again, that’s their main program I guess. Destroying this country as a going concern, since it’s better for the independently wealthy, personally, to rule in hell than serve in heaven.

    they’d done the same thing in the 1980s, run up the DOD budget without paying for it, while blowing a debt-based economic bubble to cover their tracks.


    total debt (gov’t and non-financial sector) / GDP

    Be very glad you’ve got that Japanese PR. Wish I had one now. Japan’s got a weird row to hoe this decade and next, but if you guys get through it, you’ll be doing OK, since the economics of demographic decline is actually positive in a lot of ways.

    More stuff — wealth — for the living, essentially. For Japan, the hard part is just converting the current quadrillion yen national debt — what people consider their “savings” — into actual cash without having the concomitant tax raises unfairly fall on the smaller future generations.

    Since the late 1990s the Japanese gov’t has been collecting so little in taxes compared to its expenditures, to buffer the economy from further collapse after the bubble economy bust of the early-mid 1990s.

    The US is following that same road of pain deferral, but our demographics are so very different. We’ve got a tidal wave of baby boomers coming into retirement this decade and next, and also a rising tide of young people to support.

    It’s hard to foresee the future, but I suspect everything’s going to turn out better for Japan than the US. I think it all comes down to NIIP, maybe.


    $4T in the hole still. Japan is $3T+ positive.


  3. Troy
    February 6th, 2014 at 07:23 | #3

    So I was going to comment on your 2007 piece on the Iraq war vote:


    but I see I already did!

    Three years! Where did the time go???

    Apple has sold 60M macs, 400M+ iPhones, and 200M iPads!

  4. Luis
    February 6th, 2014 at 09:56 | #4

    Apple has sold 60M macs, 400M+ iPhones, and 200M iPads!
    …And we were right about the appeal of the products, weren’t we? The people who said that the iPhone would never sell in Japan, or that the iPad was just an oversized iPod Touch which no one would like…

  5. Troy
    February 6th, 2014 at 11:12 | #5

    iPhone’s dominant market share in Japan did surprise me (Macs were tons better than PCs in the 1980s but Kanjitalk never got big take-up), as has Apple’s colossal success since 2010.

    I thought the 2008-2009 recession would kill Apple’s momentum, kinda like the 1990s recession hurt Apple too, or at least made people less willing to part with the big bucks for the Mac premium.

    I guess Android was pretty bad prior to Jelly Bean (mid-2012) which helped Apple over the hump, and for Japan there really wasn’t a home-team dominance like with what NEC had going in the 1980s, and also back then in the pre-Windows 1980/90s there were Fujitsu and Sharp as also-rans competing with Apple quite strongly for consumer and developer mindshare.

    Quarterly global iPhone sales since 4Q07, in 1000s:

    717 <– 2Q08, when I first started iPhone OS development
    3,793 <– 2009
    8,752 <– 2010
    8,398 <– iPad on sale
    18,647 <– 2011
    35,064 <– 2012
    26,910 <– "JellyBean"
    37,430 <– 2013


    is a graph of the US market, mostly iOS vs. Android.

    Not sure who's going to win this battle here. TBH I don't have the same antipathy towards Android that I did towards Windows, or even the Android of 5+ years ago.

    Google is too interesting a company for that, and Apple is too limited in what it wants to do for it to hold much more interest for me.

    Apple makes a killer laptop, but I see google really pushing the web platform forward, and I think that's really cool.


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