Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Let's face it, boring Super Bowls happen..
But at least we have the commercials to entertain us, right? Well, last night they were all pretty much like the game, boring.
One commercial is garnering attention, one from Coca-Cola that has America the Beautiful being sung in many different languages by many different types of people.
What has some people talking is the inclusion of a gay couple with their daughter. Like I said, boring. Is this even still a thing since this type of stuff is everywhere these days? I mean gays are the most over-represented subset of a subset in media. But still, ok, whatever, yawn.
The thing that struck me about the ad that is supposedly patriotic and celebrating our diversity is that we have completely lost our sense of what it used to mean to be an American.
Americans have always come from different places, with different languages and customs. We cherished those things and we held on to whatever we should. But when our ancestors came here, they didn't come here to be Irish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Japanese, English, or Dutch. They came here to be Americans and they took that seriously. That meant they learned the language, they learned the history (to the best of their abilities), and they adopted the culture.
They wanted to be Americans. Our strength came not from maintaining our diversity, but by our ability to become one. And nobody ever thought that they had to give up who they were to become Americans. Catholics became Americans. Protestants became Americans. Hindus became Americans.
Americans had brown faces, freckles, narrow eyes, tall and blonde, short and brown. We brought our diversity with our faces and we all sung the national anthem together in one voice and one language. There was something very catholic about it.
It seems to me that what we mean by diversity has changed during my lifetime. We used to pride our selves on how fast we could become Americans. Now we pride ourselves on how long we can resist it. We are no longer the melting pot, we are the crayon box. Each color and type in its assigned place and properly labeled.
So when I hear America the beautiful being sung in different languages, I don't get angry, I get a little sad. We used to pride ourselves on unity, not diversity. Our diversity influenced the overall color, but we remained one. E pluribus unum.
E pluribus pluribus is much sadder.