I needed to take a break. I was not sure how to write about what went down Sunday night. I was kind of, sort of, rooting for the Broncos but really just wanted a good game (and boy was everyone let down with that.) That was nothing though. That was small potatoes. No, I got a good glimpse into the hearts and minds of far too many of my fellow Americans over one of the oddest things imaginable: a Coca Cola commercial.
By now you have all heard the story. Coca Cola, in what to me seemed like a revisiting of their “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” campaign, ran spot featuring a changing cast of characters singing America The Beautiful in multiple languages. I thought it was touching, a reminder of all the cultures that have formed our United States. I also knew what was coming, and the internet did not disappoint.
The explosion occurred mostly on Twitter, and friends jumped on it before I did. Tweet after tweet of xenophobic disgust took over social networks. Coca Cola’s website was inundated with hateful comments. For my part, I was disgusted that I found myself in the position of defending one of the worst companies on Earth, though I realized I was less defending them, then speaking out against the bigots.
After a few hours of reading the stupidity I asked anyone who was offended by the commercial to unfriend me. To my knowledge no one took me up on that. I do not remember ever being so angry. Yes there have been injustices more worthy of my anger, and I have written about them. I suppose it just brought me to my breaking point.
Human civilization goes back twelve thousand years. Homo sapiens has been around for about two-hundred thousand. Hominids of any kind, and many of them used tools, have been around for two million. You would think over that time we would get to the point where we were no longer so willing to hate people simply for being different. You would think we past our fear of the other, but I guess that is asking too much.
So yes, I am so very angry, and I will not apologize for it. I will go one further and say that if you are not angry at these people, there is something wrong with you. These attitudes are what allows the cruel, short-sighted, greedy factions in the economic elite to pit us against each other and vote against our best interests. It is these attitudes that keep us killing each other. It is these attitudes that hold us back, and allow for people to die from starvation and exposure despite the fact that there is enough wealth to make sure that NEVER happens.
So again, yes, I am angry, because these people are making the world a worse place and too few of those who disagree with them ever say anything, at least not in any meaningful way. I know I sound like a broken record, but if you sit quietly while your friends and family spout this nonsense, then you are complicit. I do not get what it will take to shake you out of your fear of offending them, because they sure as hell do not care about offending you. Do not even get me started on so-called compassionate conservatives who refuse to call this out.
I am tired of playing nice with people who are not nice. I am tired of being patient. I want to scream and shake them and tell them what bastards they are. They make it so difficult to live up to the ideas of peace that I aspire to. Part of me feels ashamed for the way I react to this, but at what point is passivity violence? When do we admit that we are letting them shape our world, and they are doing a crappy job of it? Maybe I need to calm down, but people make that so very difficult. Maybe tomorrow, or the day after I will feel less rage. Today though, it is just too hard.