‘America’ the Beautiful

This year’s Super Bowl wasn’t terribly exciting after the first quarter. But the biggest football game of the year is never without controversy, from accidental nip slips — we still don’t know if that was planned or not — to power outages that turn the tide of the game.

The big hubbub for Super Bowl XLVIII was one of the first to take place outside of the stadium. Coca-Cola ran an advertisement featuring “America the Beautiful” being sung in different languages.

And of course, a segment of the population lost their minds.

“Coke having a commercial with an American song in other languages… not cool. Coke. GTFO with that,” one tweet read.

Some people took their outrage one step further.

“Nice to see that coke likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language. Way to go coke. You can leave America,” someone else tweeted.

The fact of the matter is that the United States was built on the idea that anyone from any background from any country could come here and make something of themselves. For more than 200 years, people have come to the “Land of Opportunity” for just that — an opportunity.

According to the preliminary 14-day report on enrollment for fall semester, Youngstown State University was home to 192 international students hailing from 70 countries. They chose to be here. Youngstown is where they decided to study and live.

And these neysayers, the most vocal of whom were on social media Sunday night, want to deny this segment of the population something as quintessentially American as a Coke just because they speak a language other than English?

Youngstown has a rich history of immigrants settling down, the big four being Italian, Irish, Polish and Slovak. It’s something that we’re proud of in this city. The people — or the types of people being portrayed — featured in the commercial aren’t terribly different from the people that made the Mahoning Valley their home.

They’re in this country to make a better life, if not for themselves, than for their families. That isn’t something that should be criticized, and it certainly isn’t something that should anger people so much that they threaten to boycott a global brand.

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