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Confederate flag

Friends of Joshua Blum, a Baraboo High School student who died in a car crash Feb. 20, display Confederate flags from their trucks Saturday. Some of Blum’s friends said they displayed the flags in his memory.

When Austin Smothers and a few others recently decided to place Confederate flags on their pickup trucks to honor the death of a friend, they also raised a few eyebrows.

“We never meant it to be a racist thing to anybody,” said Smothers, a Baraboo High School junior. “We wanted to honor our friend, Joshua Blum, who had just died. We wanted to show we cared for him.”

Blum died Feb. 20 in a crash after the pickup he was driving overturned in Marquette County. Blum’s father, Tim, said his son didn’t wear his seat belt and that’s what killed him. However, a passenger in the truck wore a seat belt and survived.

Smothers said he and the others at Baraboo High School often drove their trucks around the city with the Confederate flag waving in the back.

“That’s why we had the flags on our trucks to his wake and at school,” Smothers said. “I know Josh would’ve wanted us to do it. We don’t hate anybody.”

But Baraboo High School Principal Bill Loss said shortly after the wake and the funeral he began seeing other Confederate flags pop up in the school’s parking lot. He even fielded three calls from parents who were upset by the sight of the flags.

“It was disturbing to see those flags out there,” Loss said. “It was a delicate situation because you had students mourning the loss of their friend, but they were honoring his memory with a long-standing symbol of hatred and slavery.”

Loss said he viewed the Confederate flags as wearing a swastika in front of Jewish people.

“I talked with the students and explained to them the concerns that were raised,” Loss said. “I wanted to make sure our students knew what that flag stood for in the past and what it still carries with it today.”

Loss said after he talked with the students they took the flags down.

“They were cooperative with us,” Loss said. “They understood it was not the right thing to do.”

B.J. Zeman, who graduated from Baraboo High School in 2007, said the Confederate flag means country to him.

“It’s from the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ and the General Lee car,” he said. “For me, the flag means fishing and hunting. That’s it. It doesn’t mean I am a racist.”

Jordan Herritz, who graduated from Baraboo High School two years ago, said the Confederate flag was about the South trying to gain independence from the North.

“We never intended for people to think we’re racists because we had these flags on our trucks at Josh’s wake,” he said. “For us, it meant we’re different. We’re rebels.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison History professor Stephan Kantrowitz said the Confederate flag has been adopted by many different people for various reasons.

“At some point in the last half century some people have appropriated the Confederate flag as a way of being defiant or rebellious,” Kantrowitz said. “But those same types of people fail to identify that the flag represents the Confederate Army, who’s success would have allowed slavery in America.”

He said having those flags at someone’s wake was not appropriate.

“That flag represents evil, hatred and bigotry,” he said. “That’s not the way one should memorialize another person.”

Tanner Shelby, a Baraboo High School junior, said he understands Smothers and his friends were grieving the death of their friend, but believes having the Confederate flags on their trucks was not the right thing to do.

“I know they wanted to show respect to Josh, but not that way,” Shelby said. “The Confederate flag has a whole different meaning. It doesn’t have anything to do with Josh dying.”

Shelby’s friend, Alyssa Orseno, also a Baraboo High School junior, said she found it disrespectful to have those flags on their trucks.

“I realize they want to cherish the memories they had with their friend, but having those flags on their trucks wasn’t the way to do it,” she said. “Those flags have nothing to do with love.”

(50) comments

Pam Harriman

I think the cross of Christianity is also often displayed at these various gatherings.

Charles Lauret

@Thinkforonce....and at those very same gatherings, Old Glory has also been used. Where is the outcry?

Daniel Holzman

Yes, it is no big deal. They did have the stars and stripes too. Enjoy life. Rest in peace.

Mike T

I saw the trucks with the flag running around and at first thought "hey, there's some white folks united for some reason, wonder what it is they're trying to draw attention to". I asked around and later found that it was to commemorate a fallen friend. That sentiment is very commendable and I hope my friends think that highly of me when I'm gone.
I can understand how some people might be taken aback at the sight of people in loud pick up trucks with Confederate flags as it easily caught my attention. I wish I would have stopped and talked with them, because perceptions are easily smashed with dialogue. Works most every time. Not that I had a problem with the Confederate flag flying in the first place, but some do.
Here's an idea for a memorial that would remind people to buckle up: Take a trip to the junkyard and cut an old seatbelt and latch out of a vehicle. Cut a hole in the doubled over belt and bolt it up so it hangs 6" down from your rear bumper. A reminder and a tribute.

Daniel Holzman

"The Stars and Bars stands for rebellion against Northern tyranny. To read racism into the symbol is to be ignorant of history."

@ Cheezer

Where have you been?

Every Klan March, White Surpremist. or NeoNazi march, I have ever seen flys the Confederate flag. I guess you do not consider those hate groups as racist. Ignorant of history, indeed.

Lane Wake

This like so many things are twisted into something they just ARE NOT. People need to respect things as they were intended, not as they want to interpret them. Too many people are way to hung up on there out dated ideals and interpretations they smother out the growing and developing young minds. Guidance is of course Mandatory, but in this instance there is absolutely no intended harm or malice. Now though some are doing no less then reiterating prejudiced and put a Dark Cloud over an act that was intended to pay tribute to a passed friend and classmate.

I say Shame on those that muddied the recognition these teens where giving there friend

I'm Just Sayin

Tifany Jackson

If the Confederate flag has more than one meaning and one of those meanings are hurtful or offensive and is causing a disturbance in the classroom, it certainly does not belong in the schools. Mr. Loss was doing his job. Had he not, I gaurantee this whole thing would have been blown up much bigger than the Baraboo News Republic. Sadly, this has exposed a MUCH larger problem in our town than some kids honoring their friend. I have a student at the BHS who does not run with this group of kids, but he has some cousins that do. They all say they have been educated about the Confederate flag since 1st grade from the "free labor"/economy, to smaller gov., to the KKK. Do I think these kids meant anything hurtful? No. To say "these kids" are any better or worse than any other group of kids is ignorant. They have their good ones and bad ones just like any other group. You can't make anyone see what they don't want to see. You may as well beat your head againts a wall. I have no time for this

minuteman

Charliereb, I have no issue with you flying your Confederate flag, and anyone who knows history knows what the flag means. It was a flag of the C.S.A. So many other meanings have been given to the flag, states rights, sovereignty, being a rebel, being a redneck, hunting and fishing lol, The Dukes of Hazard, racism, even unity if flown next to the American flag. It does not change its true meaning or its first meaning.

I do not think people who fly it up here are racist they are just ignorant. Just as you fly the Confederate flag out of pride and to remember your history, many here see that flag as having no pride and not remembering our own history. Just as the south fought for your cause we also fought. People fought to keep our nation together, they fought segregation for 100 years after the war, as the KKK flew the Confederate flag.

I respect people who fly it for the right reasons in the south. If we forget our history we are doomed to repeat it. The same goes for people here.

dave rossett

We should all learn what these kids are saying...they dont see the hate we as society have attached to this flag.I admire their way of expressing their way of telling their friend he will not be forgotten,by forgetting the hate.People just had to teach them,remind them to hate.Way to go grownups! way to see the maturity of these kids,shame on you for disgracing his memory by attaching thisarticle to something beautiful like this.

BooAlum

Pam Smothers: Thank you for sharing. My heart goes out to your son and all of Josh's friends. A reasonable person can see that the boys meant absolutely no harm. Please thank them for responding to this controversy with such maturity by taking down the flags the instant they learned more about its history.

Charles Lauret

[quote]Students point of view said: "Would any of you like to hear from a BHS students point of view? Let's just say that the students from both ends of the spectrum are handling this better than you adults. It seems that everyone on here is either defending their own personal beliefs or someone they love. The reality of it is . . . Yes, these "redneck" kids (as you call them) were not trying to make anyone feel bad. Yes, the confederate flag stands for racism to the majority of people. Yes, the principle, police officers, and school teachers have educated about the meaning of the Confederate flag since and the appropriate action has been taken...."[/quote]

Seems to me that instead of teaching these kids the one-sided view of the flag, their needs to be some extra diversity training that includes what the flag really means, not the improper meaning attached to it by racists. Besides, the same can be said for Old Glory...where is the outrage there??

Charles Lauret

Hey minuteman, as a proud resident of the South who flies the flag, why don't you tell me what it stands for and please don't feed me the garbage you assume that all Southerners believe it to be. My great grandfather served under that flag and was wounded. Am I supposed to let knucklehead racist, the very misguided and intolerant principal of that school, or you for that matter determine what that flag means to me? Heck no.

Funny you call them treasonous states, when in fact, no one, from Jefferson Davis down to the lowliest private was tried convicted ot hung for treason. The Confederate soldiers were not traitors. How could they be when this country recognizes them as American Veterans right along side the men who wore the blue. Confederates have their own section in Arlington with a monument to their valliant deeds, Presidents, including Obama, have either laid or sent wreaths to that same monument on Memorial Days past. You sir need to lighten up and be a little more tolerant.

Charles Lauret

[quote]minuteman said: "I agree with free speech and expression but I think the principal is totally right. If you know anything about the history of our community and state, flying the Confederate flag is similar to flying the swastika in a Jewish community or in front of WW2 vets.I find it strange how they have co-opted our rednecks to thinking the Confederate flag is "cool" or about being a rebel, or about hunting or fishing. Do some research about the civil war, the Iron Brigade, our local history and how people volunteered. Our rednecks kicked the southern rednecks asses. What is next a fake southern accent? So sad really."[/quote]


Or an affront to WW2 vets.....say what?

Charles Lauret

[quote]haright said: "I've always wondered why kids from WISCONSIN fly that flag, have it tattooed on them, or buy belt buckles with it engraved into them. They are from the NORTH, not the south. It makes no sense."[/quote]


Maybe because state's rights, sovereignty and personal liberty are no longer just a Southern thing!

Charles Lauret

[quote]Freddy said: "The flags are about drawing attention. Now, instead of honoring their dead friend, they have caused the focus to be on the flags instead. Bad choice."[/quote]

So, you're blaming the kids? Please! Blame the media for jumping on what they knew would be a hot button issue. The media is the one dishonoring the memory opf the friend, jumping on the race-baiting intolerant bandwagon.

Pam Smothers

Hello all. I have to weigh in on this one. Austin Smothers is my son. I have had several conversations with him about the flags. Honestly they are using the flag because of the word "REBEL". We talked about the actual meaning behind the flag and surprisingly a lot of the kids did not know what it actually stands for.
They have all talked with Officer Ruth Browning and they have all been notified that they are not able to fly them at school. I had suggested to the group that they need to create their own REBEL flag and to incorp Josh on the flag. I have been with a large group of kids since Josh died. I have never seen the bond so strong and so many tears. As a parent I realized for the first time that they needed to just be together. They all just needed to figure this out together. I have chaperoned a group that all got together that ate dinner and played pool. They then went to the candle light at Josh's house where they were allowed to do Burnouts to remember Josh. All of these things are the way that they have dealt with this. It was not a matter of color it is a matter of a young life lost and MANY lives left to figure out how to deal with the loss. Even the kids who didn't know him still have to deal with the fact that someone their age had died.
At the funeral per the request of Josh's Parents they did not fly their flags or do burnouts. I am proud of my son for building the cross that sits at Josh's parking spot. I am proud of the kids for being there for each other. I am very proud of Tim and Nancy for realizing that the kids needed to just be together. I am proud of the kids for respecting the wishes of the family and the wishes of the school.
I do feel bad that there are other children that feel uncomfortable because of the flags. I am hoping that this helps all of you understand that things are not always as they seem and the intent was not to hurt anyone’s feelings. We as parents can do a lot of damage if we make this into something that it is not (in this instance). I am aware that the issue of racism is here. We could definitely cause more damage and stir up a lot at the schools.
Maybe we need to step forward and ease this by bringing all of the kids together so that they can listen to each other’s sides and how it affects them.

Holly Beaver

Dear BNR -
As a mother of one of the kids who has a confederate flag in memory of his friend, I find your newspaper article offensive, ignorant and in total lack of respect to the Blum family and the young man who survived this accident. To make this a "news" sickens me.
Why couldn't you focus on the positive things that came out of this? An awareness of the need to wear your seatbelt... the generosity of Smooth Sound Effects by donating the decals in memory of Josh to each and every person who wanted one... the way these kids were there for each other in a time of grieving...
So, the principal fielded 3 calls about the flags- my guess is he's going to be getting alot more than that today. I question his ability to effectively educate, considering he appears to be lacking some knowledge of what's going on right in front of him.
In closing - SHAME ON YOU BNR!! I hope people cancel their subscriptions and boycott your pathetic excuse for journalism. RIP JOSH BLUM!!

minuteman

They do not know history, and/or they have no pride in our history.

Just because our civil war veterans are all dead is it acceptable to shame and disgrace them with that flag? If they were still alive I doubt this would happen, and these kids would have been shunned in the past for their ignorance.

It really is silly to fly the flag of a quasi nation that your own fought a war with, trying to divide the country, funded partly by foreign interests. One that enslaved people and segregated people and still harbors some racism to this day. I have lived in Virginia, I have been to many southern states, they know what the flag means, for some reason ignorant people here dont? It is very dumb and sad.

The Confederate flag does not just mean rebel, or redneck, or hunting and fishing (LOL), or The Dukes of Hazard. It was the flag of the Confederacy, treasonous states, the losers, the opposite of the American flag. How great would this nation be if divided? Read our pledge once and grow up.

enough enough

First, there is no doubt they are good kids and Josh was one of the better of those. That said, this was not the first time this group chose the confederate flag as a symbol of their "group." Nor is it the first time they were informed of its divisive tone to many. The group was asked to remove it and did, they were not compelled to do so. Cudos to them. Its a tough call, but many symbols have multiple meanings. What symbols we choose to use to represent ourselves is individual choice, except when we compel multiple people with diverse views to attend an institution together for a specific purpose. The institution is education. Obviously not the most honorable of institutions according to many views here, but I ask those spewing hatred of the public institution of school to think about what the purpose of school is and how you establish rules/procedures for the diversity that exists there.

Jon Stock

The Stars and Bars stands for rebellion against Northern tyranny. To read racism into the symbol is to be ignorant of history.

BTW the South is where all our jobs went because of Northern liberal union tyranny.

Aaron Lee

I've always wondered why kids from WISCONSIN fly that flag, have it tattooed on them, or buy belt buckles with it engraved into them. They are from the NORTH, not the south. It makes no sense.

Fred Williams

@ think. South Carolina does not fly the confederate flag from the state capital. It does fly, however, on the state capital grounds. Quite a tourist attraction I'm told.

Daniel Holzman

Twitter, 400,000 WEAC signatures is a big stretch. Even so, there are another 600,000 . With such a small amount of union workers in the state, there is a lot more going on.

Rebel Flags carry a lot of emotions, civil rights, KKK, states rights, the kids probably just thought it was cool. Kids are kids. We all have made questionable choices. They sound like good, decent kids.

Veterans tear up for the Stars and Stripes because so many of their friends gave their lives for the country. The South is still symbolically fighting the war by having flags on their state houses. Mississippe and Gerogia still have the Conferderate flag on their flags. South Carolina still flys the complete Confederate flag on their state house.

Is that an afront to the Stars and Stripes? These are adults.

Dave Smith

What next Baraboo, being slammed for being a Tea Party Patriot? Ooops, never mind..

Tifany Jackson

Out of the mouth of babes! I couldn't agree more. No harm was intended from these kids. I am very satisfied with the action the school has taken. Education is always the answer. What we choose to do with it is up to us. Maybe we can all learn a little something here. Maybe not. At any rate, right and wrong is ultimately to be determined by a much higher power than ourselves.

Noah Jackson

Would any of you like to hear from a BHS students point of view? Let's just say that the students from both ends of the spectrum are handling this better than you adults. It seems that everyone on here is either defending their own personal beliefs or someone they love. The reality of it is . . . Yes, these "redneck" kids (as you call them) were not trying to make anyone feel bad. Yes, the confederate flag stands for racism to the majority of people. Yes, the principle, police officers, and school teachers have educated about the meaning of the Confederate flag since and the appropriate action has been taken. It seems like the problem here is not on the part of the students. Both sides here are claiming ignorance on the others behalf. Both sides are right. Grow up!

Terry Turnquist

I would be proud to be called a Redneck Hick. A lot better than a wimpy socialist liberal. Let the kids be, and I hope they invite me to their next mud wheelin event. Might have to buy back my old cj 7 with lockers on both ends, new racing carborator and a sign on the rear axle that says "Sierra Club Kiss My Axle".

Becky Van Gheem

I am Becky's daughter Emma. And I am extremly upset with this article. You made Josh and his wonderful friends sound like they were horrible racists. They put up these flags in memory of Josh, because to them and many others this flag means 'country' or 'rebellious'. Josh's friends have done so much, and this is how you thank them? I can't believe that out of all the things to complain about, you chose to this. Absolutely pathetic.

Becky Van Gheem

I was so ashamed when I saw the story about the "Rebel Flag" in today's paper. I had the honor of having some of these "rebels" in my home during this time of sadness. These boys and girls for that matter, are some of the most caring respectful and decent kids I've had the pleasure of knowing. The flag that was on the trucks, next to the American Flag meant unity and friendship. One of brotherhood and togetherness. It meant fishing, hunting, 4 wheeling, farming and friendships forever. These kids come from good families with good values and I'm so sorry for those of you that have taken something as special as that and have turned it into something ugly. The Dukes of Hazzard...the good ol' boys. I wAtched this show as a teenager. Does that make me a racist, too? These kids lost not only a classmate, but a true and honest friend. Shame on those of you who have chosen to forget that. I'm so sorry to the family and friends that have had to see this article. Rest in Peace, Josh Blum.

william pierce

I don't get what is the big deal about it. It never meant racism. Now its a symbol for the country,rednecks,hicks. The good ole boys from BHS were just honoring there friend. They all are hard working honest kids. They'll give you the shirt off there back for nothing in return. They are the nicest kids you'll ever meet.

Kim Galston

Like everything-- change everything for a few people that are complaining... It is a tribute to a friend-- that is all-- stop reading into it you over sensitive ninnie.!

Chris Jensen

If the school feels it is so important to know the history of this flag then they should do a better job teaching it in the history classes. Every generation moves a little farther from what this flag meant 150 years ago so now it has many different meanings to many different people. Only the perpetually offended continue to read more into these types of symbols than what is actually there. This group of kids are probably more honest, hardworking and honest than a lot of others.

Henry Brimmer

sounds to me like half of these people aren't even commenting on the true meaning of the story, and are just trying to find more reasons to fight about politics, not whether this was the right thing for Mr. Loss to have done.
And for that matter, do any of you really know these kids and what they are like?
I do, and for the most part they are some of the best kids in the school, they will help people out when they need it, they will treat you with decency as long as you treat them the same way.
People really need to get the facts before making stupid comments about things they have no clue about.

j o

Grow up Baraboo. These are great kids honoring the memory of their friend and it's been turned into this horrible story by people that are always looking to create drama. Baraboo News...why publish this story and subject this grieving family to this? The principal fielded 3 calls??? Really? How many kids go to school and there were only 3 calls? WHO CARES! It must have been 3 parents that run in his circle for him to give a crap. I can't spend anymore time on this...I need to go buy a confederate flag for my kids car. Geesh!

Freddy

The flags are about drawing attention. Now, instead of honoring their dead friend, they have caused the focus to be on the flags instead. Bad choice.

Fred Williams

After 152 years there are many who still believe that the Civil War was not about just about slavery.

If Jefferson Davis were alive he would still try to sell that the goal of secession was to protect the rights of "sovereign" states from "tremendous and and sweeping usurpation" by the federal government. Davis wrote these words in his postwar memoirs. He continues. "The existence of African servitude was in no wise the cause of the conflict, but only an incident".

Many have fallen for the Davis pitch. By any measure the Confederates attempted to build a modern antidemocratic nation dedicated to the proposition that all men were not created equal. What they wanted simply, was a proslavery nation.

I have lived in the South. I have worshiped and socialized with these people. I can tell you that many still believe what Davis has written in his memoirs. Heck, they are still quibbling about the Confederate flag flying on the capital grounds in Columbia, SC. Most want it left.

Tonya Klemm

These kids may like to party and have a good time, but so do your jocks and snobs. So what makes these kids any different than the others. They don't dress to the fashion, they don't play sports, and they don't act like they are better than everyone else - so they are automatically trouble makers "THE REBELS". Get to know them - they are not bad kids. Stop pointing fingers.

Tonya Klemm

After reading this article it made go an google "MEANING OF CONFEDERATE FLAG". Most of the items listed talked of southern pride and rebel. Which is what it means to many of these kids "REBEL" All of these kids were and are stereo-typed probably by many that are commenting as being "REDNECKS" and "HICKS". So now that is how they are showing their respect to their friend who lost his life. Because he was one of those kids that everyone stereo-typed.

I have a child myself that hangs with these kids - on what was once called "HICK ROW" until the principal even had to have it removed. These kids are good kids but have been stereo-typed as the bad kids "REBELS". They are not the jocks and snobs that think they are better than everyone else. These are down to earth kids. They do good things for people and treat people with respect. Unlike some of these jocks and snobs that are too good to even say hello and are just rude because they are so much better than everyone else.

kay gus

So, they can discriminate against these kids but yet the ones who report against them can sit their and smoke pot. Don't forget that slavory wasn't the main cause of the war maybe you should look it up or go back to US History class.

Kurt Kujawa

Everyone cares but the parents who payed for those flag draped vehicles. Those kids are not costing us our freedom they will be the first to go should they get a call to war. don't be anal.

minuteman

I agree with free speech and expression but I think the principal is totally right. If you know anything about the history of our community and state, flying the Confederate flag is similar to flying the swastika in a Jewish community or in front of WW2 vets.

I find it strange how they have co-opted our rednecks to thinking the Confederate flag is "cool" or about being a rebel, or about hunting or fishing. Do some research about the civil war, the Iron Brigade, our local history and how people volunteered. Our rednecks kicked the southern rednecks asses. What is next a fake southern accent? So sad really.

Lori Digmann

The definition that my High School kids said they are nothing but a bunch of "Red Neck, Hicks"

My sympathy goes out to the Blum family.

Tifany Jackson

I'm sorry that this young man had to die. It is a tragedy and I feel for his family. But this flag has many bad connotations. As long as the KKK uses it to represent their ideals, it will be considered a sign of racism and hatred by the majority in this country. Just try to imagine for once, how the minority students must have felt having to walk past that wall of Confederate flags just to get to their place of learning. My heritage is from the south and I am very aware of what that flag represents. Josh's friends have a right to honor him and should. I just feel that it could have been done in a way that didn't hurt others. (Whether done intentionally or unintentionally).Certainly not something that belongs on the school premesis. Kudos to Mr. Loss!!

Terry Turnquist

Think, please think about this. There are about 100,000 members of WEAC, most have husbands wives and children. I would guess that organization could easily come up with 400,000 signatures. Then throw in the retired teachers and other municipal union people and their families. Most of these oprganizations have some sort of newsletter and from personal experience, I can tell you that the members are told who to vote for and to sign the recall petitions in the newsletters. When I get one of the newsletters I usually vote for the other person, so they have some value to me. And finally, what does "solidarity" really mean? They are finding out in Europe what it means and now they are paying the price.

Steven Rodriguez

Opps meant both not bought LOL

Steven Rodriguez

I am bothered by the fact they said this flag was a a long-standing symbol of hatred and slavery. Not so. It is soooo forgotten that the South went to war not for slavery but they did not like being told what to do by the North. Being of hispanic and native american decent I am proud to say that I had family fight on bought sides of that war. I am not offended by the flag. I have one in my home and so does my brother. I also have one on my arm in tattoo form. I would have one on my truck if I could find one of size that I want. This guy Loss is a retard and should not be in charge of any of our schools.

Peggy Dahler

From me

Brian Coltrane

What happened to freedom of speech and expression? This rebel flag thing has been blown way out of porportion. For some of us, it's no more than a "good ol' boy" thing, and a Dukes of Hazzard yee-haa thing. Country boy, rebel, hard-working, blue-collar, ect. Not hate, not racist. Yes, it's a battle flag and it was used by the Confederate Army. But slaves were brought into this country under the U.S. flag, the ol' stars and bars. Thomas Jefferson, for crying out loud, owned slaves! Why don't you get offended by his image? Why keep his face on Mount Rushmore and on the U.S. nickel? He owned hundreds of slaves. Yet he's a hero, and then these poor kids who are trying to honor are a friend, are supposed to feel ashamed of themselves. God Bless America, and God help it, with they way freedom of speech is under attack by the ignorant.

Daniel Holzman

Not quite, twitter. Solidarity. The people. What communist country has the clinched fist on its flag?

Less than 12 percent of the workers in the US belong to unions (public and private). Pretty weak to say the anti-Walker people are communists. You are thinking of the hammer and sickle or the red star. Even they have moved more into capitalism, but you won't find 12 percent of the workers in unions.

Most of the people at the rallies do not even belong to unions. There certainly are not one million union members in Wisconsin. The clinched fist is a symbol of power and definance against Koch Walker and his billionaire handlers. The people want their schools and state back. They are not out there for the ficticious US communist party or the ficticious "union thugs."

I hope you get in touch with some reality, Twitter. You seem to be offended by the fantasies in your mind.

Terry Turnquist

Sorry, but I am a lot more offended by the clinched fist symbol of the communist party and the public unions at their rallys.

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