I approach this subject with some degree of fear and trembling, but here goes. American corporate life, like nearly everything else, has become uber political. We’ve seen it with Major League Baseball and its boycott of Georgia over election law reforms. Pantene is not just interested in beautifying our hair but is using images of same-sex parents helping a boy become a girl to motivate us to lather up, rinse, and repeat. Similarly, the Oreo cookie has gone all-in for the gay agenda. Burger King is warning that cow flatulence may be causing climate change (I find that interesting coming from “Burger” King). There are so many examples of this kind of corporate political activism that I could go on and on – but I’ll try to spare you the excess. Except to say that Coke, too, is woke. Quite ironically, I’m writing this from a beautiful church desk which was likely financed, at least in part, from Coca-Cola money.
Now Coke tells its employees to “try to be less white.” I get it. Perhaps it’s well-intentioned – it likely is. But it ends up dividing us racially, yet again. We don’t need any more of that.
For goodness’ sake, I’m all for everybody having the right to speak their mind. That sounds like freedom to me. That sounds like America. What I am concerned about, however, is that we all need a break from politics. And we all need some things to enjoy which are free from political rancor. I’d like to live in a world where I can sip my Diet Coke without having to worry about what kind of political statement I’m inadvertently making by so doing.
Here’s what I fear is happening. Your average Diet Coke sipper, like me, is feeling further and further disconnected from the products, services, entertainment, and sports we previously enjoyed, simply because we don’t feel the need for a constant lesson on how we ought to think. The incessant political diatribe is demanding, and exhausting.
I just want to enjoy a Diet Coke. In peace.
And, if you do feel the need to lecture me, Corporate Giants, don’t be so obviously hypocritical about it. Stop signing backroom business deals with China. I’ve been there, and I’ve seen the human rights abuses with my own eyes. Stop turning a blind eye to Muslim slave labor. Stop ignoring the sale of baby parts. Stop telling people who believe in the legitimacy of voter i.d. that they are wicked, while requiring legal forms of identification for people who board your airplanes or attend your shareholder meetings. Just stop.
Better yet, just let me drink my Diet Coke. Please. I actually like your product. I’m already sold.
Let’s get real, friends. No one out there is really “woke.” No one. Every human being participates in some form of denying or suppressing the dignity of another human being. Perhaps not as a group, but certainly as an individual sinner. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that hurting others is what we do best. There is only one who was oppressed, yet never an oppressor. So there is only one who was ever truly woke: Jesus.
Is there a real danger in all of this politicization of everything? I think there is, but that’s not even my main concern today. My main concern is that Americans need some things which can pull us together. Right now. “Out of many, one.”
I’m old enough to remember it. Are you? The ad cost only $250,000 to produce in 1971, but it was the most expensive commercial ever created at that time. I can still see it in my mind’s eye. I can still hear the winsome tune. It ranks 16th among the “Greatest TV Ads.” The million-dollar message brought people together, without putting anybody down. In fact, leaders from South Africa asked Coca-Cola to send them a version of the commercial without any actors of color, and the company rightly refused.
I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
I’d like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills
For peace throughout the land
That’s a song I hear!
I’m thirsty for a Coke that unites, not divides. It’s the real thing.