Here we go again with the right trying to turn a total non-issue into a firestorm. FOX News is LIVID that the Obama online store is now "selling copies of an American flag painting that replaces the 50 stars in the blue field with the president's campaign logo."
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign tweeted that the print -- entitled "Our Stripes: Flag Print" and designed by Ross Bruggink and Dan Olson of Studio MPLS -- is "a poster to say there are no red states or blue states, only the United States." Sadly, those who are staunchly red staters seem to want to take that unifying message and turn it into something extremely divisive. They're crying foul, saying it's creepy, "un-American," "offensive," "insulting," and "stoops to new lows." Ay yi yi!
To be fair, I could see how any deviation from what we know the American flag to look like today in 2012 might upset people. It's a sensitive subject. Especially those who have served in the military under that flag. And those people are entitled to their thoughts and feelings surrounding the image of the American flag.
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That said, you would think someone who considers themselves a "patriot," a proud American, would be passionate about American values, which includes freedom of speech and expression. That's all this is. Bruggink and Olson are just two artists of many -- including fashion designers Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Rachel Zoe, Vera Wang, etc. -- who have contributed designs to the Obama store to support his re-election campaign. (Funny, I don't see any big name designers or artists coming out in support for Romney. But anyway ...) Each has been a unique play on Obama's logo and iconic American imagery. The concept is nothing new: Campaigns have been marrying a candidate's "brand" to American imagery forever.
Okay, so, maybe Bruggink and Olson's was a little ballsier than the other designs. But anytime you tweak the flag, you're going to get tongue-clucking. That doesn't mean it's an image we should never feel at liberty to re-imagine. Anyone who claims to feel otherwise, in the name of being a flag-waver, is seriously missing the point of what this great country -- and the artistic freedoms it offers -- is all about.
How do you feel about this screen print?
Image via store.barackobama.com