Conservatives Remove the Painting Portraying Police as Pigs
America is dealing with enough racial tension — the last thing it needs is for a student art competition to pour gasoline on the fire. But unfortunately, that’s exactly what has happened recently as Democrats and Republicans clashed over an offensive interpretation of Ferguson that hung in a highly-trafficked area of the U.S. Capitol. After local law enforcers complained about the painting, which depicted them as pigs pointing guns at African Americans, conservative members took turns pulling the piece off the wall and marching it to the sponsoring representative’s office. After a few days of this back-and-forth, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) explained that this was about more than artistic expression.
“I couldn’t help but think of all of America’s law enforcement, in addition to our military men and women, who put their lives on the line every day… I thought of all the men and women who honorably and faithfully wear a badge, who protect our communities and streets. I thought too of our collective obligation of a society to uphold these defenders of law and justice, even though too it is right that decision makers hear and respond properly to instances when law enforcement does overstep… There’s nothing inclusive or healing when police officers are referred to as swine. Even if the painting is put back where it once hung, at least the message was sent to America’s police departments and law enforcement that their service is valued.”
National fraternities of police — including D.C.’s — contacted Congress over the insult and demanded the picture come down. And on Friday, they got their wish. Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash.) asked the Capitol architect to settle the dispute, complaining that the painting “violated standards set by the House Office Buildings Commission” — a small panel of House leaders — that prohibit artwork with “contemporary political controversies.” The Capitol architect agreed. Americans everywhere cheered.
For Duncan Hunter and David Reichert, it was an important victory for the brave in blue.
“This painting hung… was a slap in the face to the countless men and women who put their lives on the line everyday on behalf of our safety and freedom,” Reichert said. “Tragically, we have seen that the growing divide between law enforcement and the communities they serve can prove fatal. For the sake of those who wear the badge and the security of our families, we must work on addressing those tensions by listening to one another, rather than acting in ways that further deteriorate the relationships that are so critical to our safety.”
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
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