How To Paint ‘A’ Mountain White


Now that Democrats have unquestionable control of the Tucson City Council, it is time to take a stand against allowing facile public displays of patriotism to substitute for the real thing.

It is time to end the hijacking of a cherished symbol of community unity and pride
inspired by academic and athletic achievement to advertise a false unity behind an unethical, foolish,
illegal, and increasingly genocidal occupation.

It is time to stop allowing a vocal and self-righteous minority to shove an enduring symbol of the failed policy in Iraq into the faces of every Tucsonan who doesn’t support continuation of the occupation of Iraq.

It is time to stop using public resources to subsidize a controversial political viewpoint.

The city counsel must now gather up their courage and remove the A on the mountain from the field of partisan political play.

The A must be repainted white immediately. And any time public funds or personnel are used to repaint it due to wear or vandalism, it must be painted white.

The city code already requires the A be painted white. We have only to follow the law. No more tacit acquiescence to vandalism, no matter how patriotically inspired it may be.

I have had enough. I’m sure you have had enough. I’m even confident that the members of the City Council and the Mayor have had enough. It’s time to call, or walk-in and visit with your council member and your Mayor and let them know that you are sick and tired, and you’re not going to take it any more: you don’t want a symbol of your city used as a jingoistic advertisement for war; you want the law to be followed; you want your ‘A’ to be white again.

Let’s make this return to normalcy one of the first priorities of the new Council. Let’s make the de-politicization of a symbol that is meant to represent our entire community a small local step toward healing this nation of the failed and curdled politics of the Bush era.


  1. Good idea to bring back the historic white ‘A’. The pro-war group that wanted it like the US flag never kept their end of the deal to maintain it. Taxpayers have been footing the expensive bill for city workers to keep it painted in a pro-war salute, and that should stop. The ‘A’ is for Tucson, not the USA.

  2. “However, in an effort to bridge the gap between us, I recommend a concrete solution. I will gather a group of friends to drive down to Tucson and repaint the offensive “A” for you. Of course, we might not pick white, it being the color of surrender.”

    Of course, brown or yellow might also do nicely here….

  3. Finally! Michael, you put to writing what I’ve been thinking about for a long time. It boggles the mind how exactly painting a historically white symbol (using taxpayer money) can “support” the troops.

    Please make it white, like every other school whose nearby mountain bears its name.

  4. Not only should it go back to being painted white, I think we shold bring back the tradition of actually setting the A on fire every year prior to it being repainted.

  5. Fair enough Michael. I have to hear endless trash talk about the Wildcats every time I visit my brother-in-law, so I have to get in any jabs I can 😉

  6. Hey, no fair using a guys words against him, Jon.

    I think I’ll let this little flame war end here. I surrender to your clever Sun Devil threat. The A could indeed be even more offensive than it is now.

    Never-the-less, the A must be returned to it’s proper color – white, the color of purity, of neutrality, of peace.

  7. Michael, the only person questioning their fellow Americans’ patriotism is you. In this post and comments you have called those with a differing opinion the following:
    facile, hijackers, self-righteous, vandals, jingoistic, disrespectful to our flag, offensive to our flag, empty, ham-fisted, coercive, cowardly, contemptible, self-aggrandizing, posturing, nationalistic, puerile.

    Oh, and “not truly patriotic.”

    So please stop playing the victim. It’s utterly hypocritical.

    However, in an effort to bridge the gap between us, I recommend a concrete solution. I will gather a group of friends to drive down to Tucson and repaint the offensive “A” for you. Of course, we might not pick white, it being the color of surrender.

    I’m thinking something in a maroon and gold might be more appealing. 😉

  8. The University of Arizona’s colors are cardinal red and navy. The “A” on Sentinel Peak is traditionally supposed to be white(washed).

  9. Wow. It’s always a pleasure to have Dwight arguing for the other side. It is a fitting demonstration of the intellectual integrity and devastating mental firepower of my opponents.

    As to how I spend my time, Vox, I would point out that I am writing it and YOU are reading it, let alone COMMENTING on it. So who’s really wasting their time?

    But more to the point, a color scheme has little to do with supporting or not supporting our troops. If color schemes were the measure of patriotism, this blog would certainly qualify as the most patriotic around, wouldn’t it? But I don’t demand to be judged on appearance alone, nor do I call anyone who actually questions the consistency and validity of my ideas a traitor or some other pejorative de jour.

    Real actions, such as vetoing increased pay and support for them, are the real measure of support for our military. Even better would be to spare our troops death and disfigurement in support of the profiteering and criminality of a failed Administration which has lost the confidence of the majority of our military and our citizenry.

  10. The City Council are a bunch of Space Aliens with RAINBOW COLOR PANELS that change colors as the Sun moves across the Tucson Sky!

    What a fitting SOLAR DISPLAY of elected MIND WARPS sitting in that building!

  11. Thank you Michael. I wanted it reverted back to white the way it has been while I was growing up in Tucson! I understand if college students pulled prank by changing colors as it has been done over the years in the past since we can revert it back to white. But what the frak to allow the color to be changed by the frakking city council when they ignore the law. If city council want different color, they should create one on other mountain around here temporarily instead of messing with original historic monument.

  12. Are you missing the fact the you have a major university in Tucson whose colors are…red, white & blue.

    I was always under the impression A mountain was a celebration of the Wildcats, not “yet another empty, costless expression of support for ‘our troops.'”

    Seems like you are so bent on not supporting ‘our troops’, so wrapped up in bashing what you see as “unethical, foolish, illegal, and increasingly genocidal occupation”, that you are looking for something by which to be offended. In this case, literally looking under rocks.

    How sad you don’t have any more productive ways to spend your time.

  13. Yes, red, white and blue are obviously the colors of our flag. Painting them on a mountain doesn’t make it a flag. In fact, the very idea is, in my opinion, disrespectful to our flag as this installation is afforded none of the respect (shelter from weather, lighting at night, etc) that a flag should be afforded. As such, to the extent that this color scheme might be meant to echo our flag, I find it deeply disrespectful and offensive to the dignity of our revered national flag.

    I don’t happen to think that the display is meant in such a fashion, however. I think it is merely a jingoistic effort to imply the community’s unity behind a particular war that is clearly not warranted by the facts on the ground. The color scheme is merely an effort by a minority political group to appropriate a community symbol in support of a failed occupation and the policies of a failed President.

    We all know the real meaning and purpose of this travesty on A mountain. It is yet another empty, costless expression of support for ‘our troops.’ We also all know, though some will not admit it, that such expressions actually support a particular political policy and represent a ham-fisted attempt to coerce acquiescence to that political policy by hiding behind the skirts of our troops.

    When it comes to the real human costs war exacts on those very troops, those who wear their yellow ribbons and paint mountains in jingoistic imitation of our flag can hardly be bothered by such things as body counts, lost limbs, broken families, PTSD, the breaking of our reserve system and degradation of our military readiness, and military funerals which our Commander in Chief refuses to attend.

    Your questions’ unspoken insinuations indicate to me that somewhere along the line you’ve forgotten the simple fact that I too am a patriot who passionately loves his county: I just happen to believe that the occupation of Iraq is making this nation weaker in every way, and it is therefore hateful to me. I also believe that supporting our troops takes much, much more than a bucket of paint.

    To me, such empty gestures are contemptible, jingoistic, and not truly patriotic in any way; rather they are merely self-aggrandizing public posturing and the worst sort of nationalistic pride in military aggression. In fact, such gestures are aptly emblematic of what is wrong with the puerile political convictions of some of my countrymen.

  14. I can see how this might seem parodic if you found it on a web-site whose author simply can’t imagine anyone having a problem with tarting up a cherished community symbol with jingoistic colors to support a failed and divisive war. However, in case you haven’t yet noticed, this blog is not such a place.