An official at a Wisconsin county fair reported that vendors were banned from selling Confederate flags because “someone got their feelings hurt,” a report says.
John McClelland Jr., vice president of the Vernon County Fair in Viroqua, Wisconsin, informed the LaCrosse Tribune that fair officials banned the flag after a single fairgoer complained.
“As a board, we decided it wasn’t a necessary item,” McClelland said. “It’s a piece of our history, but someone got their feelings hurt. So we decided not to sell it.”
McClelland added that after news leaked of the ban in June, the 11-member board got even more complaints from those unhappy with the ban. “It goes both ways. You make two people happy and 50 people get angry,” he said.
The fair official also dismissed the idea that the Confederate flag was all about racism. He told the paper that he thinks about “The Dukes of Hazzard” when he thinks of the flag, not slavery, racism, or hate.
But the fair board made the decision based on the actions of a single, loud activist who last year raised a ruckus by confronting a vendor who was selling the Southern Cross.
“It angers me personally because I consider [the Confederate flag] a symbol of hate,” activist Mark Kastel told the Vernon Broadcaster last year. “Family members of mine who were active in the Civil Rights movement were beaten up in the past.”
The agitator even went to the extent of filing a police report over the flag sales last year. He then used that police report to force the fair board to ban the flag for 2017.
Despite getting his way, Kastel still criticized the board because they weren’t very enthusiastic for his proclamations.
“I just don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who claim that (the Confederate battle flag) is some important part of their heritage,” Kastel told the Vernon paper. “I’m asking the board to be conciliatory to everybody in the community. Even if there is one person negatively affected by this, that’s too many.”
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