Scars and Stripes

David Masten's avatar David Masten

We live in a culture of war, not a culture of peace.   America has been bloodied and scarred many, many times. Throughout our two-and-a-half century history we have engaged in wars for good and noble reasons: freedom from dictatorship and tyranny; countering threats of invasion and oppression; securing religious and human rights.  We have also extended our power and doctrine to every corner of the world in pursuit of protecting or expanding our “American interests” in those regions.  In the process we have focused on military might, as opposed to diplomatic means, as we have built the most powerful force in human history. Behind a facade of patriotic fervor, we have lost our moral compass.   We feed our jingoistic image of America The Great with bumper-sticker slogans and flag-waving ceremonies, as if Patriotism were a brand-name consumer product. I’ve chosen the image of the American flag to represent the on-going effort to patch and repair a feeling of national strength and pride, of patriotic faith in spite of the costs, failures, and lessons unlearned. Our flag, regardless of any current issues, is mostly viewed as a symbol for patriotism at any cost; but I believe it is also a reflection of casualty, of the gross loss of opportunity and a declining optimism about America’s future that raw patriotism cannot fix.    It’s OK, even patriotic, to debate our culture of war; our endless use of military force. We need a national dialog about redirecting America’s foreign policy to one of diplomacy first- with intervention and military engagement only as an absolute last resort.  We must understand the ”American interests” that we are protecting overseas. Are we pursuing business opportunities that have no alternatives; or can we bring about changes domestically that will diminish the need for military protection internationally? We have an urgency to examine America’s global role. We have an urgency to re-evaluate our commitment to the American people. We must find a way to lock arms with other nations to address universal needs and problems.   We will be stronger as a nation when we change our unsustainable culture of war to a culture of peace.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 2 inches
  • Medium: Acrylics/fabric/paper on wood
  • Width: 75 inches
  • Year created: 2014
  • Height: 42 inches