The new commercial for the Cadillac ELR, a fully electric vehicle, has riled some people with its unabashed American patriotism. They’re outraged that a commercial selling a car would dare to celebrate American exceptionalism. Some are calling it xenophobic. Twitter feeds erupted with anger at the arrogance and self-confidence of the American businessman portrayed in the ad. Others called it “hyper-patriotic.” They did not mean this as a compliment.
The outrage against this commercial is quite peculiar. In the Ukraine right now people are fighting and dying in order to remain Ukrainian and not to become citizens of Russia. Why shouldn’t Americans be pleased to be American?
We have this situation because the idea of loving our country is seen as arrogant by our pundit class and our education system. My children learned about the Civil War but the focus was on slavery, not the Abolitionists or the Union that fought to end it. They learned the Native American experience as one of oppression and slaughter and America was the villain of every lesson. When history turned to World War II the majority of the class time was spent on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bashing America for using nuclear weapons, leaving Pearl Harbor as a footnote. The Bataan Death march wasn’t covered. Is there any wonder some students graduate from high school after reading A People’s History of the United States by the America-hating Howard Zinn and feel little sense of patriotism and pride in their own country? That is by design, not by accident.
Here’s the danger of this Cadillac ELR commercial that celebrates America: America is a great country, an exceptional one, the grand experiment in self-government that has unleashed unprecedented freedom and liberty to her citizens. This commercial is like the parable of the boy who cried out that the Emperor had no clothes on. Once the boy said this, the people no longer had to pretend any more, or try to fool themselves into seeing something where there wasn’t anything. There are those who wish to “fundamentally transform” America into something else, and a commercial like this one reveals the ridiculousness of that goal. Well done, Cadillac. Well done.