Stories and thoughts about family and life

Freedom of Speech

on February 8, 2012

I had an interesting thing happen yesterday, but it reminded me of an important lesson, and actually reinforced the purpose of my country, so it was especially meaningful.  I posted on Facebook about the Super Bowl last Sunday night.  We didn’t watch the game–we didn’t care much about either of the teams in it this year, but I was so taken by the buzz about one commercial, that I made a point of looking it up on youtube the next morning:  (feel free to take a look).  I sat, mesmerized by the word, Clint Eastwood’s voice, the pictures of struggling Americans, and the promise of a new day.  The analogy of the football game fit perfectly for me.  We really are at halftime.  We’re better (most of us) than we were a year ago, but we’re still struggling to figure out what to do next and to keep the whole momentum going and come out of it.  The reminders of how we’ve been through rough patches before and made it through, and the patriotic spirit it stirred within me made the whole message hit home.    As I posted it on Facebook, my remark was for people to take a moment and let the message sink in, and hear the words and be motivated.  That’s really what it was about to me–a pep talk from an icon speaking on behalf of another iconic business of the country.  Sure they’ve had trouble–but so have I.  My debts aren’t all paid.  My life isn’t exactly where I’d like it to be, and I’ve needed help too.  I could see such a kinship on a variety of levels.  But what really hit me was that message:  “get ready for the second half.”  Put your pads back on, grab your Gatorade and let’s go win this thing.

After I posted it, I scrolled down to see what my friends were up to, as I commonly do.  I saw several posts from people I know who were preaching about how Ford was discouraged from running an ad because they didn’t take any bailout money.  I saw comments about how Chrysler shouldn’t have been allowed to spend money they borrowed from the American people on such political dribble.  I googled some information on Chrysler and found that they do still owe some of the debt they borrowed, but I was annoyed that these people obviously weren’t seeing what I was seeing.  There were comments (and if you watch the clip, you’ll see many of them) on youtube about how Clint has “sold out” and accepted money to regurgitate a speech obviously dreamt up to just make people buy their cars.  Well, duh.  It’s called advertising.  Any company that has to appeal to an audience has to do it.    There were remarks about how companies who are bailed out or borrow funds in this manner should have their advertising scrutinized.  There were remarks from many people who said they’d never buy another Chrysler or GM product.    I think that’s just sad.  Boycott if you will, I’m not trying to tell you what to do.  Personally, I own a GMC and a KIA, and I’ll take my GMC any day of the week.  It’s sad that those companies were in trouble.  It’s sad that we had to bail them out, and I personally didn’t agree with the bailout when it occurred, but I think that these companies took their second chance and ran with it.  It’s sad that everyone saw this as an extension of Obama’s State of the Union address, and allowing him to take credit.  Either way, though, I think it’s sad what happened to me next.  I honestly thought for a minute about deleting my post.  I thought “maybe they’re right.  Maybe this is only receiving attention because of the political implications.”   I hovered over the “delete message” icon for a moment, and thought better of it.

I watched the message again.  I thought for a few more moments about the right move, and then finally came to the conclusion that I have freedom of speech too, and that I wanted to share it so people would hopefully see the positive side of it.  I’m fortunate that not very long after I posted it, another friend from back home saw it, and saw the same things I did.  It’s comforting and reassuring to see that people see what you see.    It made me feel like I really saw the real meaning.  And ultimately, I think that was the objective.  It is time for us to realize the things of which we’re capable.  It’s time to get up and finish the game.

After 9/11, there was a huge patriotic sentiment.    It was a cautious undertaking, making an ad at that time, but Budweiser did a beautiful job with this one:  I don’t recall anyone saying that it was about selling beer, and even people who didn’t like beer appreciated the American sentiment of the ad, and the homage to New York and all the fallen people of the terrorist attacks.  I’m amazed at the resilience my fellow man can display, when called upon.  I guess that was the same thing I saw in the “halftime in America” ad.  Support your fellow man.  Pick him up and honor him.

Where have we lost that message?  How do we get it back?


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