A local community debate in California is bringing Old Glory into the spotlight, but there are no celebratory fireworks.
Some residents have called the American flag design featured on the Laguna Beach Police Department’s vehicles “hostile, intimidating, threatening, and a symbol of racism,” according to a city official.
“Unfortunately this has devolved to a debate about what the flag means. There are people in Laguna Beach… saying that the flag is hostile, it’s intimidating, it’s threatening, and that it’s a symbol of racism,” Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”
Dicterow told the Los Angeles Times that the artists’ community initially took issue with the “brightness of the colors,” but that now the issue has gone national and is centered around being pro- or anti-flag.
The issue has raised so much ire that the Laguna Beach City Council is expected to vote Tuesday night about whether or not to keep American flag design as it is on the city’s police vehicles.
“Clearly, the way it looks on the car is not what anyone expected it to look like,” he said. “I think it’s reasonable that we’re going to look at it again so that whatever we [approve] is exactly what we put on the car.”
A decision to repaint Laguna Beach police cars with an image of the American flag running through lettering on the doors will return to the City Council Tuesday after some residents deemed it unfit for the artists’ community. https://t.co/3r3vIEOvAb
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 16, 2019
A local artist, Carrie Woodburn, said at a recent council meeting that the design looked “aggressive.”
“I don’t really care too much about the design, other than what I said — it’s bad art,” Woodburn told the LA Times. “I’m being attacked for that because the narrative feeds a fire of division, which is what our culture has become.”
“I defend their right to say these things,” Dicterow said on Fox when asked about Woodburn’s comment that the design “feels aggressive.”
“I also have the right to disagree with that,” he pointed out. “I believe that the flag is a symbol of equality and of freedom, and it’s that very freedom that our police are protecting.”
People were responding in outrage on social media that anyone would be against a design that incorporated the American flag.
“Absolutely great design please don’t change a thing. Anyone who has a problem with our great flag clearly doesn’t belong in this great country,” wrote Facebook user Adam Segura.
“♥️🇺🇸♥️. Let our Flag Fly ♥️🇺🇸♥️. This is a disgrace. Our flag represents our freedom,” wrote Megan Cadis-Hudzinski.
While many residents have spoken out against the design, many have voiced their support, too.
“They are so filled with hatred toward this … office of the President of the United States and the current occupant of that office, that they cannot see through their current biases to realize that a police vehicle with the American flag is the ultimate American expression,” attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter had said at the last council meeting.