Have you seen the Coca Cola commercial that sparked hate-tweets that we have now grown accustomed to? I’m at a point where I watch a commercial or a story and can pinpoint the level of hate that it will be spewed by the populous.
(original was found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=443Vy3I0gJs but was taken down).
But even though I knew it would incite hate and awful words, even though I could feel the rolling waves of ignorance about to attempt to crash onto the rock of reality, I teared up while watching it. As I tear up whenever I sing the national anthem. First, I am reminded that my little brother belted this song out at his kindergarten graduation in a big auditorium. I still recall the awww’s heard in the audience and the slight laughter at the thought that this little man was going to do anything but whisper. And I remember his beautiful voice resonating through each person in that space. And I cried then as well.
I don’t want to explain. Or tell you how every person here except for Native Americans are descendants of someone who probably didn’t speak “American”. I could say that I, an immigrant who speaks English as her second language probably has a better handle of “American” than the people who misspelled words in their hate tweets or referred to America the Beautiful as the national anthem. But does it matter?
Did you know that America the Beautiful was written by a gay woman? Her name was Katherine Lee Bates. Has anyone taken the time to look at the fabric of this country and the words that we so proudly repeat when we sign the national anthem, the pledge of allegiance or any number of songs that we hold dear in this country? I think Brenda Wood, an anchor at WXIA-TV in Atlanta, expresses it better than I ever could:
America is Bella. Beautiful to so many of us who stepped off of an airplane or a boat. Who drove in or were carried over. And the thing is, that no amount of hate will stop those of us that not only love this country, but love the melting pot that defines us. Because it does define us, in spite of the ugly words and the negative thoughts. United we will stand. In this, our America.
(the Statue of Liberty poem)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”