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A Confused American Looks Back at “The Crying Indian”


by Glenn Shepard
December 19, 2017
Category: Personal


Hamilton, OH Dec 20

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Rudolph was invented as a marketing gimmick for Montgomery Ward in 1939, but they didn't want him to have a red nose because it was viewed as a sign of chronic alcoholism. Eventually Montgomery Ward's executives listened to their copywriter, who convinced them "Rudolph the Blue Nosed Reindeer" wouldn't work as well.  




That’s what pops into my mind when I look back at 2017.

There were over 300 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, and I don’t understand why.

It reminds me of a commercial from the seventies called “The Crying Indian”.

It featured a Native American pulling his canoe from a polluted river onto a polluted shore. As he looked out at the cars passing by, someone threw out a bag full of trash that landed at his feet, and a tear rolled down his face.

The narrator read:

“Some people have a deep, abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country. And some people don’t. People start pollution, people can stop it.”

I wonder what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and our other founding fathers would think if they saw what happened in our great country in 2017. My guess is that they’d have tears running down their faces, too.

And they’d be as baffled as I am.

In 2017, there were more jobs than there were people to fill them. Home mortgage rates were under 4%. (Mortgage rates were nearly 8% when “The Crying Indian” commercial was released in 1971). And the list goes on.

Our quality of life is so good that it’s unbelievable.

I understand that we have foreign enemies like North Korea that want to wipe us from the face of the earth. And from what I’ve seen of their quality of life, I can understand why they might resent Americans.

But what’s so baffling is why so many Americans want to kill Americans. What are they so angry about? Who are they so mad at?

I was an Eagle Scout who was taught to appreciate, respect, and honor my country when I was a kid. And now as a 54-year-old man, I don’t believe we can do that without honoring and respecting our fellow man.

This is why I still believe in Christmas.

Call me old fashioned. But I still watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” every year, because I still believe it IS a wonderful life, and a wonderful country.

As my neighbor down the street, Ronnie Dunn of Brooks and Dunn, sang:

Only in America,
Where we dream as big as we want to.
We all get a chance,
Everybody gets to dance,
Only in America!

Whether you’re Christian or Muslim, Republican or Democrat, Gay or Straight, Black or White, or anything else, you’ve got it made if you’re an American.

I don’t know how we stop the epidemic of mass shootings. Or how we convince these angry Americans that they live in the greatest country in the history of the world, and should be grateful.

If Santa is listening, my Christmas wish is that maybe we can end this bloody year with a little Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men.

Merry Christmas to You and Yours, Wherever You Are, from the Hills of Nashville, Tennessee.

To Your Success,

Glenn Shepard
A Proud but Confused American

Although “The Crying Indian” ad was later criticized because the actor wasn’t Native American, the Ad Council named it one of the 50 greatest commercials of all time. If you haven’t seen it, click here:

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