Letters to the Editor

Student Center Shows Its True Colors – Red, White and Blue
The newly built Student Center at UC Irvine has become an icon for the university. It contains one of the most popular Starbucks in the nation, a world-class cafeteria full of your favorite corporate eateries and it’s also a place for some very fine art. The Student Center allows artists to periodically exhibit their work to the student body and guests of the campus. This month the Student Center administration decided to display the work of Sheila Pree Bright and her series entitled, “Young Americans.”
Bright’s exhibit involves around 20 life-size portraits of students and young Americans with the flag of the United States. In each of the photos, students were asked to pose with the flag in a manner that they best believe exemplifies the true meaning of Old Glory. Each photo is also accompanied by a placard describing the nationality, age and name of the young Americans.
The most astonishing thing about this exhibit is the overwhelming level of patriotism among the photos. The young Americans are seen posing in images of happiness and joy with the flag. One photo that stood out to me was of 18-year-old Omar Rodriguez, who describes himself as a Latino American. In his photo, he holds the flag clenched in his fists as he kisses it. Another photo shows Charles Cauthen, a 19-year-old African-American embracing the flag around his body and assiduously looking at the camera.
These two photos are only a few examples of the high level of patriotism that can also be found in the other photos. Other photos depict students running, waving, cradling, embracing and admiring the flag.
However, there are always a few who can take such a beautiful symbol of freedom and liberty and throw it to the ground — literally. One such atrocious picture shows self-described Angeleno (not American) David Melger sitting on top of the flag as if he was at a picnic. Another photo of such low-level of esteem pictures a young man using the flag as handcuffs around his wrists.
The aforementioned young Americans and the few others who chose to desecrate and/or insult the flag did so by exercising their right to freedom of speech. Some might think their actions to be hypocritical because the symbol they so easily defaced gave them the right to do so.
I believe these few young Americans did no harm to the overall purpose and meaning of the exhibit. If one looks closely at the few rotten apples, one can see that they do not even describe themselves as Americans. Their placards read as unambiguous ideologies or nationalities. This leads me to a famous quote from Theodore Roosevelt, who said, “The man who loves other countries as much his own stands level with the man who loves other women as much as he loves his wife.”
The exhibit by Bright shows the outright patriotism and optimism of our generation. And we as a student body can only hope to share these same values as these young Americans. For they know that the flag of the United States of America represents life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Edwin Ohanian
Fourth-year Economics Major

Stop the Attacks on the Military and Conservatives
In the past few weeks, I have seen cartoons in the New University by artist Drew Dee depicting members of the military as uneducated, torture-happy rednecks and Republicans as unsympathetic opportunists who survive off the suffering of the less fortunate. I find these cartoons to be highly inaccurate and in very poor taste.
While there are many men and women in the armed forces from lower to lower-middle class backgrounds, the military is no place for the unintelligent. These days, soldiers have to know more than simply how to fire a gun and not get killed. They must know how to operate sophisticated weapons and satellite technology. And while it is true that some soldiers have unfortunately engaged in abuse of prisoners, the vast majority of men and women in the military are compassionate people who want to make living conditions better for the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The comic entitled “Republican Food Pyramid,” which includes groups such as “the poor,” “for’nurs” and “terrists (sic),” is a gross misrepresentation of the principles in which the Republican Party believes. Studies have shown that residents of red states give, on average, more to charity than residents of blue states. Furthermore, it is the Democratic Party running their plantation of big government that wants minorities to be poor so that somebody will vote for bureaucratic programs like welfare and affirmative action.
I find it rather ironic that liberals who promote tolerance and advocate against stereotypes are so misinformed and intolerant toward conservatives. Please stop the hate.

Makena Dyer
Fourth-year Biological Sciences Major