Disney would like to Welcome you to these United States

Welcome to the USA, where, according to this bit of propaganda commissioned by the State Department and produced by Disney, everybody smiles. But really, what’s wrong with that?

I’ve heard more negative comments about this video than good ones.

The main issue tends to be that Horseshoe Falls of Niagara Falls, which appears for about a second, is pictured and it belongs to Canada. The shot is from the Canadian side overlooking the falls with the USA in the background. The only thing more ridiculous than owning a waterfall is owning half a waterfall.

Yes, the particular half pictured is owned by Canada, but seeing how this is Tourist propaganda and Niagara Falls is a popular destination for tourists in the USA, what’s the big deal? Somewhere in the falls is an imaginary political line. Don’t you see it? What if the film showed a fella jet-skiing on Lake Erie and the shot just happened to be taken as he crossed the imaginary political divide between Canada’s Lake Erie and the USA’s Lake Erie? The only difference there would be that nobody would be pitchin’ a fit.

Like a commercial or advertorial, this is propaganda. “Show the real America!” say the opponents of the video. I suppose they want pictures of our homeless, dead beat dads and abusive moms, of our military invading and bombing places, of politicians stripping civil liberties, of race riots, of slavery, Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, etc.

Again, this is a tourist video. Settle down. What’s wrong with showing smiling Americans? What’s wrong with being proud of what’s great about our country? Life in the USA is not perfect, but we’ve got it pretty darn good compared to a lot of places. We’ve got a lot to smile about. And, if you are sitting in your apartment/home/dorm, viewing this YouTube video and you aren’t worrying about where your next meal is going to come from or if the water you just drank will give you a lethal case of diarrhea, you probably should just shut up.

I was ready to view this video with cynicism, but it won me over. The diversity of our people, landscape, and culture is almost untouched. Our politics, people, and history aren’t perfect, but it sure looks like a nice place to visit.

I hear Canada is lovely, too.


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