The world without them

death and sufferingRecently, the usual crop of nonsensical conservative pundits spoke out in objection to an advertisement by Coca-Cola, featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in a variety of languages, most of which I have heard spoken in this country by fellow Americans, either naturalized or otherwise, during the usual course of my life.  The reactions of these pundits, as well as many random fellow conservative Twitterers and commenters, are stereotypically fearful, and when you are in fear, you don’t necessarily make a lot of sense.  Glenn Beck’s take, as an example, was how “in your face” and “dividing” the commercial was.  A whole bunch of different people getting together and praising the United States and its beauty in song is…”dividing”.  This should tell you all that you need to know about Glenn Beck.  (For more information, consult the book 1984, by George Orwell.)

Prior to this on the same program was an advertisement for Cheerios which featured a bi-racial couple and their daughter discussing new additions to their family: a baby brother on the way, and a puppy requested by the daughter.  Human beings can be at their best or their worst under the cloak of anonymity, but it says something about how very low the latter of those categories of people can sink when General Mills was forced to suspend comments on the advertisement when it ran on YouTube because of how overwhelming and vile the bigotry was.  It’s safe to say those doing that commentary also considered themselves conservative; if there’s any doubt about that, just look up which political party was forced to apologize (through its National Committee chairmen) for its cultivation of racism as an electoral strategy during the Reagan years.

There is palpable fear in the very small minds of those objecting to these ads, and when one considers the political ground conservatives occupy in this country at this time, it’s easy to see why.  Modern American conservatism is predicated on a model of “us”, the familiar, and the deserving inheritors of all, and “them”, the others, and therefore those lesser and inferior, who must be excluded from the national ideal.  This attracts two types of people in need of self-aggrandizement: the capitalist, who is looking for moral justification for selfishness, and the bigot, who just needs an acceptable channel for hate.  Together they promote the self-fulfilling prophecy of social and economic purity, with themselves, of course, in the lead role.

The advertisements are for popular products, however, and there is no danger to either company in running them.  They did so not because of any moral statement, but mainly to sell more product.  Monetary success equals “right”, and therefore deserved, in the minds of conservatives, so this is consistent with their thinking…but how can this be when the undeserving “others” – the “non-Americans” in conservative eyes, though there’s nothing to suggest they are in reality – are shown in these ads?  The resulting cognitive dissonance can take many abhorrent forms, but I would argue that they are all stemming from the horrifying realization that the superiority over others they crave – be it moral, racial, linguistic, national, or otherwise – has given way to the realism of equality.

In the last lines of the movie The Matrix, the hero Neo addresses an unseen enemy, saying that he knows they are afraid of him, of his kind…and of change.  Unrelentingly, Neo gets to the core of that fear: “…I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you…a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

If there’s one thing certain, it is that that choice will not be made by those who hear that frightful world in a multilingual song, or see it in a bowl of Cheerios.

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