The evening saw many sitting down to watch the Super Bowl and admittedly I was not one of them. I have no affinity for football and have determined that I have better things to do with my time. So each year as people gather for parties and scream at the television, I find something else to do. The one thing, like many, that I do partake in is the commercials. Although due to a lack of television, I generally have to wait a few days before they appear on the internet.
If you think about it, the Super Bowl is the one time when people actually sit down to watch a commercial. With the advent of the DVR and various other options, very few people watch commercials willingly. But during this event people seek out the advertisements. There will be conversations. They will be nitpicked apart and people will deem this one the best and that one the worst. The annual tradition of commercial dissection in the break room will commence on the morrow.
Normally I have to wait a day or two for the commercials to fully find root online. However this evening there are two that seem to have already raised both praise, as well as ire. The first, a beer commercial, started making its rounds on the internet a few days before the game. In this commercial the viewer watched an immigrant as he made his way from Germany to the United States. As the story unfolds, people scream at him and tell him to go back where he came from, he escapes a burning boat, and the viewer roots for him as he perseveres. People have read much into this commercial over the past few days and they seem to note a message about immigration.
Admittedly I first watched this commercial due to the rants I saw appearing in the comments on my FB feed. There were people speaking of boycotting the beer, while others who never drink were planning on buying a six pack just to support the company. When I first watched it I could see the undertones that many were seeing. I would have to wonder though if I read into the commercial due to the state of the world. Did I see something that was never meant to be there simply because we are faced with a world that is targeting immigrants? Or did the company grow a pair and remind the world that we are a country of immigrants?
The second commercial that brought ire this evening came from a lumber company. This spot depicts the journey of a woman and her daughter as they come to this country from Mexico. Apparently part of it was edited out (the wall) due to it being deemed too controversial for the Super Bowl. The complete ad is on their website or can be found on YouTube. This one had all the feels that I have come to expect from many of these spots. The little girl tugged at my heart and the desperation on the mother’s face is something that any mother could recognize. In her eyes was the need to make their lives into something better for her daughter’s sake.
Both of these advertisements are drawing the rage of xenophobes all over the country. People are calling for boycotts. They are stomping their feet and declaring it unfair that these companies brought politics into their football game. One person commented that “nothing was sacred anymore” because the companies had defiled their little game with a human’s rights issue. What do these people expect to happen? Do they truly believe that these companies should shove their heads up their backsides and ignore the world in which they live?
You know, I don’t believe that corporations should have person hood and I don’t think that they should be able to donate to political campaigns. But that being said, I really have no problem with companies sharing their view on the state of the world. If I disagree with their view I won’t purchase their products. If I agree with what they have to say, I might purchase their products if I need them. It’s pretty simple and rather straightforward. Don’t like a company, don’t patronize them.
What has happened in this country that we find it so easy to bastardize either celebrities or companies that share their view on the world? Why do we find it so reasonable to scream that they should shut up and need to keep their voices to themselves? You know, there are quite a few idiots in this world who I would love to slip a gag on and call it a day. But I remind myself every time that when I encourage others to be gagged I am opening the door to the removal of my right to speak and that is not a right I am willing to abandon anytime soon.
Recently we have seen the press secretary of the White House telling the press to “shut up.” We have seen people all over the internet calling Liberals names and telling them to shut their traps and accept the state of things. There are generally people spouting off at each other on a daily basis. Each one telling the other that they don’t have the right to share their thoughts.
We don’t have to like what others say and we certainly do not have to tolerate hate in our lives, but we can’t deny the right to speak. When we start calling for others to lose a right we are volunteering to surrender our right as well. With the Tangerine in office it is all to easy to fall into a trap in which we scream “shut up” at those who share his way of thinking. People who realized that their hatred was reviled have exposed themselves to the light as they have come to believe that his vile behavior makes it alright to be a racist, a bigot, a xenophobe, or a sexist. They are running around allowing their hate to ooze so freely that those who are opposed to them are finding ourselves trapped in a never ending loop of rage. Yet, even as they rant and ramble we have to remember that we cannot deny their right to speak. We can however, deny them an audience.
If a person spouts hate, turn your back on them and walk away. When a person argues for exclusion present them with a plea for inclusion. Give the vile no validation and ensure that every bit of venom is ignored and ostracized. It is our duty as human beings to show these people that while they have right to speak their mind, they do not have the right to expect anyone to agree with them.