This piece of student art on display at the Portland airport looks just fine to me. Cynically titled "In God We Trust" by its creator, Peter Nichols, it points to the absurdity of our soldiers dying in Iraq for oil. Instead of stars, the flag has dollar signs.
But easily offended Oregonian columnist David Reinhard says this is anti-American propaganda.
No, David, it's truth-telling. Your patron saint, George Bush, is the anti-American here, since he – along with his neo-con cronies – have trashed the Constitution and our nation's values to further their selfish political ends.
Last I looked, the First Amendment was still operative. Though maybe I haven't seen the latest memo from Alberto Gonzales.
"In God We Trust" is part of an exhibit called "Where We Live." Reinhard wrote:
"Well, it's hard to argue that a college student's left-wing artwork doesn't say something true, if ugly, about where we live. The student artist's political take on the Iraq War and American capitalism, the Christian religion and the United States are probably closer to Portland's soul than mine will ever be."
Un-amen to that. Thankfully, Oregon isn't part of Jesusland. We're the most unchurched state in the nation. Praise no-God!
Per usual, there's a lot to ridicule in Reinhard's column. I found this sentence particularly amusing.
I just cannot get beyond the soldier heading home from Iraq or the family heading home from their soldier's funeral.
Oh, so the solider and the family are so insecure, so weak, so uncertain that the cause of the Iraq war is right, they'll glance at a painting on a wall and be devastated.
Well, if they are, this shows the power of art when it speaks to what we know, but are unwilling to admit to ourselves. However, when we're confident in what we believe, being exposed to a dissenting point of view doesn't shatter our self-composure.
Along these lines, watching "So You Think You Can Dance" last night it was interesting to learn that Wade Robson's anti-war routine danced individually by all ten contestants on Wednesday created some controversy.
Ooh. The dancers had a peace symbol on the front of their shirts. And they ended the dance with a "V" salute, just as Robson is doing here.
Lighten up, America. Like judge and producer Nigel Lythgoe said, who is pro-war?
Judge Mia Michaels also came in for some grief because she'd worn a jacket with a Marine emblem upside down. Wow, what a travesty. Court martial her!
Oh, wait, we can't, because she's not a soldier. So why should she have to conform to a military dress code?
I see people wearing the American flag in all sorts of non-traditional ways. Why aren't they getting reamed out by the symbol-obsessed crowd?
Freedom of expression. That's all-American. It doesn't matter what people wear on a TV show or what's displayed at an airport. It doesn't matter if crucifixes are hung in urine. Or if our nation's flag is burned to a crisp and stomped on.
So long as we can openly and freely do these things, this country is fine. Including the proudly godless state of Oregon.