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Halftime in AmericaPosted Tuesday, February 7, 2012, at 8:01 AM
If you watched the Super Bowl, you probably saw the first ad of the halftime, "Halftime in America."
It was a Chrysler ad. But it was more than that. It put a big lump in the middle of my throat. I strongly recommend you go to youtube.com and watch it if you didn't see it.
The grammar is a little poor, but it is pure Clint Eastwood. The text of the ad reads as follows:
"It's halftime. Both teams are in their locker room discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half.
"It's halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they're hurting. And they're all wondering what they're going to do to make a comeback. And we're all scared, because this isn't a game.
"The people of Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But we pulled together, now Motor City is fighting again.
"I've seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And, times when we didn't understand each other. It seems like we've lost our heart at times. Then the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.
"But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. Because that's what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can't find a way, then we'll make one.
"All that matters now is what's ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together? And, how do we win?
"Detroit's showing us it can be done. And what's true about them is true about all of us.
"This country can't be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do, the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.
"Yeah, it's halftime America. And our second half is about to begin."
The only way you know it is a Chrysler ad is that after the screen goes dark, the Chrysler brand appears on the screen.
I have heard some negative commentary about this ad. Statements that the ad supports the president or the auto bailout. In my opinion, those people are either thinking too hard about it or have very narrow perspective on life.
The reason that this ad put a lump in my throat, and probably yours too, is exactly what is on the face of it. Although very different in content, it reminds me of the Reagan ad, "Morning in America."
There are 300 million of us. We are all different. Some of us are immigrants, others have been here since the Mayflower. Some are liberal, others conservative, and a plurality somewhere in the middle. But we are all Americans damn it! And that means something.
When I was a kid, every neighborhood had guys in it who fought during World War II. They knew that if we can't find a way, we'll make one. Everyone agreed, whatever was good for Detroit, the auto industry, was good for America.
The 70s were a tough time, tougher than they are today. (However, it feels like everything today is held together with bubble gum and bailing wire and will be much worse when it finally lets go).
We had real protests then, and riots in major cities to boot. The country was deeply divided. While OPEC was cutting off our oil supply, the president told us to turn down our thermostats and put on a sweater.
Unemployment was more than 10 percent and inflation was at 18-22 percent annually. Statisticians even invented the "misery index," as a measure of the economy.
But in 1980, we were reminded that we were Americans. Being an American really meant something. While it may not be easy, we can do anything if we put our mind to it. That nothing that is worthwhile is ever easy but that we were up to the job.
We were reminded that we really are different from everyone else in the world; not because there is anything different about human nature here, but that with freedom, hard work, a little luck, and a lot of pluck, we changed the world and can do it again.
It wasn't the French or English that whipped Hitler and Tojo at the same time. It isn't a Soviet or Chinese flag flying on the moon. Politicians can screw things up, but if the American people are left on their own, they will put things right with alacrity.
It may be a bit premature to say that Detroit is making a comeback.
Roughly 25 percent of the houses in Detroit are abandoned. The city is bulldozing houses as rapidly as they can until they run out of money budgeted for diesel fuel. The city can't even afford to keep the street lights on due to unpaid electric bills.
But if Detroit is making cars again, things may turn around for them.
But the point is that if the government will simply leave us alone, if we can get back to work, we the people will find our American spirit and show the world that just because we are down, we are not out.
Americans love an underdog. At the moment, we know the Chinese and others are betting against us; we are the underdog.
But Americans also love a come-from-behind victory.
That is exactly what we will do if our leaders will just let us.
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