Bonus Item! First World Problems: Pepsi v. Syria

While human beings in Syria are dealing with harsh, inhumane and unconscionable attacks by their own government, many Americans have been busily concerned with and incensed by an ad released by a soda pop company.  

What the hell?

Item! Treat not Just the Symptoms but also the Problems

We Americans are encouraged from many quarters, foreign and domestic, to rescue the refugees from Syria. 

Now, President Trump has taken direct action to strike at the fundamental reason so many people are fleeing Syria. 

And he is criticized. 

His loyal (and not so loyal) opposition should explain why America should not take action to end the brutality in Syria. 

We should be willing to do more than treat the symptoms of the problems in Syria. 

Item! Crass Commercialism is Sometimes Only Crass Commercialism

The outrage over Pepsi’s “short film” with Kendall Jenner seems misguided. 

From the articles I’ve read, the outrage appears to be focused on the scene where Kendall Jenner offers a police officer a Pepsi. 

Despite the enraged voices and satirical responses, Pepsi doesn’t appear to have been suggesting that its fizzy soda is a talisman that will prevent police brutality

The ad never indicated the marchers were protesting for the same reason as Black Lives Matter.  The marchers were described by a Washington Post columnist as “a diverse group of beaming protesters flashing peace signs and flirtatious glances.”

The ad never indicated that the police were on the verge of revealing themselves as jack-booted thugs about to steamroll the dreamy-eyed marchers. 

In its ad, Pepsi merely showed a diversity of people supporting one another.


The offering of soda to the police officer appeared as nothing more than an act of kindness. 

Yes, Pepsi is employing such imagery in pursuit of its crass commercial interests. 

That’s a far cry though from exploiting or mocking a serious social justice movement like Black Lives Matter. 

Item! Compassion Matters!

Bruce Hornsby once sang:

Standing in line, marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
‘Cause they can’t buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old lady’s eyes
Just for fun he says, “Get a job.”

We are truly compassionate in our giving when our giving is not contingent on what we get out of it. 

To give compassionately, our giving should not be contingent on the receiver doing something that makes us happy, or that fits with our political or religious philosophy, or that jives with our work ethic or another point on our moral compass. 

We should be compassionate for the sake of being humane, for we are human.

#compassionmatters #compassionatelivesmatter #humaneisashumanedoes #helpfulisashelpfuldoes