Denver. A budding metropolis amid the plains and the front range. Like any other big city, American Expressions was best served by parking and people. Many thanks to my brother, ST, for assisting in getting a permit for two spaces near the Octoberfest in downtown Denver. Who knew that asking permission would be so easy? Kudos Denver for being hip to what I'm doing.
Since I had procured a parking permit for the flag, the process of getting set up was a lot easier. We selected the corner of 20th & Lawrence right in downtown, in front of perhaps the best hidden breakfast joint in the city. It was certainly entertaining to the people inside when a giant flag showed up and two hustling patriots set up shop. Instantly we had steady stream of people hitting up the flag. A nice variety of folks, the perspectives shared on the flag ranged across the political spectrum.
The most compelling discussion I had about our country was with a middle aged black women who would not write on the flag. She watched intently, furrowed brow, slightly shaking her head at what she read. When I approached her the first time, she retreated into the diner. Later on she returned and I inquired, "What do you think of my project?" She replied, "I know what you're doing." I thought that was good since I really don't know what I'm doing. She continued, "You're trying to get to people, trying to get them riled up." I gave her a skeptical look and said, "Am I upsetting you?" She curtly looked me in the eye with a flat stare, examining if I was full of shit or genuinely concerned about her disposition. "What are you really up to?" she inquired. I went on to explain how I was touring the nation promoting freedom and compassion. She quizzically looked at me and then the flag again. Now it began to make sense to her and she began to read some of the expressions out loud. "Love is the answer," she read, "I like that one." "You're really out here trying to help, aren't you?" she questioned. "Yes mam', looking to see if we're coming together or if we're coming apart," I replied. "Well?", returning to her flat stare of skepticism. "There is a lot of love in our country, despite all the ugliness" I replied. "You really believe that?" she countered. I then took on her steely gaze and gave her a broad smile and said "Yes, I do." She held my eye for a couple seconds, taking in my goofy grin and then slowly broadened her fixed face into a wide smile, an approving prideful grin. "You keep up the good work, young man," as she patted my shoulder, turned and went on with her day. Art at work, brothers & sisters, art at work.
There are two opposite experiments in state governance happening in close proximity: Colorado & Kansas. One state removed as many taxes as possible and the other removed prohibition of a taxable substance. One state has a booming economy and the other is contemplating how to pay to educate its' children. One state boasts about its 'ethical integrity' and the other brags about its progressive programs. In 3 months of touring I have yet to meet a conservative who has any ideas that are not self-serving and pass judgment on the wider population. In fact, you can see where conservative politicians in Indiana had to renege their ethical opposition to needle exchange programs because drug abuse caused a rampant Hepatitis outbreak. What are the conservative principles that are good for all of us as humans and companions and stewards of our earth? I can hear the bemoaning of those who don't want to give their hard earned money away to free loaders while extolling the virtues of Jesus F. Christ. They continue to complain of the government "crushing them" while ignoring the realities of populations who actually have been oppressed. And they bloviate to their moral perch upon which they proclaim their "love of life" in defense of the unborn while dispensing hatred towards anyone different than them. The Republican Party cannot remedy the contradictions between its policies and its morals and it stinks and everyone can smell it. How do I know this? Because none of the conservative counties in Colorado, who opposed cannabis legalization, refused any of the tax revenue generated by it. I would encourage Republicans to get comfortable in the minority position because nobody wants to hear your bullshit anymore.