Chevy, which is using John Mellencamp’s “Our Country” as the new song featured in its commercials, is coming under fire for doing so.
The TV spots feature the usual icons of the Statue of Liberty, busy factory workers and Americans at their leisure. But then a more conflicted narrative emerges, quickly flashing on bus boycotts, Vietnam, Nixon resigning, Hurricane Katrina, fires, floods, then the attacks of Sept. 11, replete with firefighters.
The message seems to be that, even though America has been in the ditch several times during its history, it has always managed to pull itself out. And what is true for the country must be true for General Motors.
But something more subtle, perhaps more cynical, may be at work here: the image of America (and its leading auto manufacturer) as victim, mostly of itself, but still worth loving.