There are two things that mean “American” everywhere in the world and require no translation: Hollywood and Coca-Cola.
While Hollywood has long nursed its anti-American pro-Communist bias, those nice folks in Georgia have always pushed their sweet brown fizzy liquid in a nonpolitical way. Their only remotely political doctrine has been the slogan “Ice Cold.”
American exceptionalism has always been part of Coca-Cola’s identity, and it reached its zenith in the late 1980s under Claus Halle, president of Coca-Cola International.
Unfortunately, this week the current CEO of Coca-Cola, James Quincey, a British-born engineer-turned-consultant-turned-Coca-Cola executive, unilaterally decided to take the iconic American company blindly and headlong into the cancel culture fray.
Without warning, he decided to weigh in on Georgia’s new voting law and proceeded to declare:
Let me be crystal clear and unequivocal, this legislation is unacceptable, it is a step backward and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia, around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity, and this is frankly just a step backwards.
How would Quincey know what a step backward would be? He is a Brit!
You know, those quaint subjects from the tiny island whose doddering 94-year-old Queen carries a big purse, owns Corgis, and runs a completely dysfunctional royal family.
One might ask Quincey, “Yo, Jimbo! If you want to be a social justice warrior, why not start in your native land, with Meghan and Harry? For that matter why don’t you get a sample of James Hewitt’s DNA and have a chat with the Queen?”
Quincey would likely reply that he could not afford the man-hours, as Her Majesty’s government would return its Coke bottles in a manner that would require a time-consuming colonoscopy before deposits could be refunded.
Back now to the 1980s and the American exceptionalism at Coca-Cola International under Halle, a remarkable man with a remarkable life story.
Halle was a 16-year-old conscripted soldier in the Wehrmacht at the end of World War II. He somehow found a way to evade the Russians, swim across the Elbe River, and surrender to U.S. forces.
After his post-capture processing, he was released. He managed to reunite with his family and get a job, in 1950, with that most American of companies, Coca-Cola, as a truck driver in Essen, Germany.
Over the next 45 years, Halle worked his way to the top, becoming president of Coca-Cola International.
He loved his adoptive company and his adoptive country. Late in his life, he threw a party at his enormous mansion in Atlanta to celebrate his American citizenship. An INS official swore him in right there on the sweeping staircase, facing his guests.
When he finished his oath, one of his friends related to me, he turned to his guests and in his still slightly accented English said: “I would like to say how happy I am to be a citizen of the United States of America. And now, at last, I can say: We won the war!”
His guests laughed and applauded. Then he added: “Both of them!”
Now that is American exceptionalism!
Today, decades later, Coca-Cola is run by a passionless robot with the political acumen of a cockwomble bent on being the latest woke corporate ingénue.
Would somebody check his green card? Or would asking for ID be a step backward?