Day one of the fair included some items for sale bearing the Confederate Flag, which were later removed, and emphatic statement of support for the cancelled band Confederate Railroad by the group 90 Proof.
Never before in my lifetime, even in the 1960’s, when Margaret Mead said, “was the worst division between Americans we will ever see,” has there been so much divisiveness coming from all sides on so many issues affecting life here.
Within the last week, the news of the booking spread on social media and a boycott was suggested. County Executive Pat Ryan urged the county Agricultural Society to cancel the performance, calling the flag a “symbol of division and racism.” That cancellation was announced earlier today.
“The Delaware County Fair, held in Walton in the middle of August, has been an annual rite of summer for 132 years,” writes a reader from Shandaken. “But the good will of the Fair has been marred in recent years by the Fair Board’s refusal to comply with the community demand that vendors be prohibited from selling merchandise bearing the Confederate flag.”
The Onteora School Board voted 6-1 last month to ban displays of the Confederate flag and swastikas, revising the district’s code of conduct to include the symbols under prohibited conduct that “endangers the moral well-being, health, safety or welfare of others,” after incidents involving both symbols over the last two school years. The decision came just over a year after the board passed a resolution denouncing the flag as “a symbol of intimidation, harassment and hate.”
I confess I feel like a real Pollyanna being surprised by this, but a SUNY New Paltz professor’s avuncular dogwhistling honestly shocked me more than anything else in the news this week.
The resolution denounces but does not ban the flag, noting First Amendment rights. However, Superintendent Victoria McLaren said disciplinary action for its display might be taken on an “individual basis.”
The resolution states, “The Onteora trustees recognize the Confederate Flag as a symbol of hatred and condemn it.”
Trustees aren’t rushing to change the dressing code just yet.
Several teachers, staff and parents of the district turned out to speak at a recent school board meeting. All requested that the board create a policy that would prohibit wearing or displaying the Confederate image that many see as racist.