A commercial that speaks for America
Chevy plucked the heartstrings of hundreds of millions of Americans with its holiday commercial. In doing so, it revealed a yearning for a different America than that portrayed in the woke commercials that bombard us with an America that exists only in Hollywood.
An old man, a widower, places a sad-looking Christmas wreath on the door of his barn. He stops inside to look at a beat up and deteriorating 1966 Chevrolet Impala. It was his wife's car, and sitting inside it brings back a flood of memories and a torrent of emotion.
As he closes the barn door, his daughter, even from a distance, can see the sadness that envelops him.
In her small town, she enlists the aid of local mechanics, who work with her at night to restore the body and the mechanics of the blue Impala.
On another day, the man returns to replace the wreath on the barn door and notices that it has already been replaced with a festive one.
Stepping inside, he sees the beautiful American classic restored to its former glory, reminiscent of a time when America built great cars. As he sits in the car, he sees a picture of his wife dangling from the rearview mirror.
He is overcome with tears and memories. He drives the car out of the barn and beckons his daughter to get in. It is the best Christmas gift ever, he tells her, and she says it's what her mother would have wanted as they drive off onto the rural road.
The commercial captures the bonds of people caring for one another and a time when American manufacturing was the envy of the world.
You can say that America long ago stopped being rural and small-town. After all, the historian Frederick Jackson Turner hailed the closing of the frontier at the end of the 19th century, from which came America's then nascent transformation to an industrial, urban society.
Nonetheless, America was built on the values of an agrarian society. Thomas Jefferson's yeoman farmer was the foundation for American democracy and for the bonds of free and independent people building communities and a nation.
In this brilliant commercial, Chevy captured the world in which millions of Americans still believe.
Chevy's commercial stands in contrast to the woke world, where adverts must have a blended family, gay children, and an ethnic minority mouthing some banal attempt at an aphorism that supposedly captures the essence of the commercial and puts everyone else to shame.
There is a stirring in America for a resistance to the cancel culture, phony wokeness, anti-Americanism, and the divisions created by the haters in the Democratic squad.
There is a yearning for a new patriotism, for a rekindling of the traditional values of America.
Is this an American myth? Perhaps, but no society can exist without its myths and heroes.
Toward the end of his life, when interviewers thought he would bask in the glory of the Soviet Union's crumbling, Barry Goldwater dismayed them by stating he feared for a nation that had lost its heroes.
Every nation needs heroes, symbols, and integrative narratives. The people who attack those are condemning our existence as a nation. They are undermining our heritage. They are rewriting our past to control our future.
Chevy, in a brief commercial, reminds us of who we were, who we are, and who we can be.
It is time to denounce the America-haters at every school board meeting, every college fundraiser, and every political campaign.
We need, now more than ever, the ascendance of a political movement that can speak for and to America in the same way the people who crafted that dazzling Chevy commercial have spoken.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.