Town conflicted over flag flown at mayor’s house

The town of of Stockton, Iowa is divided after some residents started flying the confederate flag outside their homes, including the mayor, Melissa Fowler.

It all started when an anonymous letter was sent to city council in protest of one confederate flag being flown outside someone’s home. The letter led some residents to fly confederate flags outside their homes in a sign of solidarity.

“I think a lot of it is just an act of defiance,” said one town resident, Nick Diffenderfer. “But meanwhile while they’re putting on their little show, they’re putting out an image to a lot of the kids in this town that is not appropriate.”

“I’m trying to raise kids and instill good values in them [and] I find it very contradictory,” Diffenderfer said. “A mayor is somebody that should be looked up to.”

Mayor Fowler has not responded to News 8, but her husband said the flag belongs to him and he flies it in respect to his southern heritage.

“To me it’s no big deal,” said Sandy Phelps, another Stockton resident. “I think whether she’s the mayor or isn’t she has the right to be true to her own beliefs.”

City council member Donnalee Holmes said the flag is a symbol of people’s southern heritage and they have the right to fly the flag if they choose to.

“I don’t see what would be offensive about it, I really don’t,” Holmes said. “This city needs a lot of things and fussing over a flag seems silly.”

But to residents like Diffenderfer, the flag represents something much more serious.

“Racism is alive and well in the United States and all you gotta do is look outside the window and see the flags flying,” Diffenderfer said.

61 comments

    • Sussay

      I really can’t “appreciate” that part of American history… I consider it a learning opportunity from which not all of us seem to have learned its lessons.

    • sammy smith

      you are so right david, i feel sure thier are alot more importen thing to discuss doing in your town other then talk about how someone don’t like this flag…as far as that goes I DON’T LIKE STUPID PEOPLE–so big deal.

  • Drewbster

    Do you remember from your grade-school years how the teachers would sometimes ask you to circle the right answers or picture on a work page, or to put an X on a picture or word or other item that didn’t belong in a group? That is the same concept this flag is designed around; the stars are laid out in the pattern of an X, and the blue bands are put on the thirteen stars to show that the southern states no longer wanted to be a part of the union with the northern states. In simpler terms, the message of flag’s design is simply this… CROSS US OUT of your Union!

    • Elspeth

      Twit! The Union Jack, the flag of Great Britain, is what the Confederate flag is based upon. Since the Union Jack existed LONG before the US Flag there is absolutely NO SENSE to your post.

      • Drewbster

        funny, can’t seem to find any reference to your statement as being true. Did the union jack hold the patent on that design, or are you just making it up as you go along.

      • KCKid

        The South lost. Deal with it. It offends many. Read your history. There are many in our nation who would love to have slavery back. Deal with it.

  • Leah

    Isn’t there more important things going on in the world? Freedom of speech, get over it! If everyone was the same wouldn’t this world be a boring place?

    • Kendra

      Oh stop with the Freedom of Speech garbage. Sometimes people need to learn to shut their yaps, you included. Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you should spout it. Learn to think beyond yourself.

  • Jim

    In my opinion it very much is a symbol for racist attitudes. In the north, there is absolutely no reason to fly the confederate flag other than to broadcast your racist beliefs and intimidate others! One of the things that the news report did not represent is that one of the flags that is flying in the town has the saying “the south will rise again” on the flag. I am ashamed to be a resident of a town that finds it acceptable to fly confederate flags. When it really comes down to it, I don’t buy it when people say they fly the flag to represent their southern pride or “rebel pride.” The confederate flag represents slavery and racism, and is the symbol of the worst part of our country’s heritage.

      • Jim

        How does the confederate flag not stand for slavery and racism? it was the primary reason the south seceded from the union! If the south would have won the civil war, slavery would have continued. So how does the flag not have that meaning to you?

      • Matthew R Callaway

        If you are proud to come from slave owning, white supremesist and also the people who LOST the civil war, then fly the rebel flag! Everyone will just know you are an idiot, instead of just assuming it based on your lack of teeth and personal hygene.

      • Pam

        I will ‘speak’ slower for you Jim- like I said before I am proud of my Czech heritage. Am I proud of their communism? no. I am proud of the people and the culture. Maybe juuuust maybe you can relate this to someone being proud of their state and childhood and not turn it into a racist thing.

      • Elspeth

        @Jim – Seriously? The flag was the “primary reason” for the South to seceded? The flag? Wow! learn something stupid every day. And slavery would have died out regardless of the war. Anyone who has actually STUDIED history knows that Lincoln didn’t desire to “free” the slaves. Freeing the slaves was, in Lincoln’s eyes and in the eyes of his compatriots, a “necessary evil” to bring the South back into submission to the will of Washington. African slavery was already dying because it was no longer universal in the US and it had ended in Europe. Because it was becoming less and less socially acceptable, eventually the courts would have found it illegal and it would have ended that way.

    • Pam

      Another example for you is Germany. Should a German not be proud and not display a flag or crest because of Hitler…no. Do German flags represent Nazi’s? no

      • Jim

        Using that example, proud Germans would not fly a Nazi Germany flag with the swastika. I’m sure good German citizens and those of German ancestry are proud of their heritage but disgraced over the the Nazi reign. Anyone flying a Nazi flag would not be considered just a German proud of their heritage, they would be considered anti-semites and white supremists.

        We live in Iowa, Iowa was never part of the south……so the “being proud of your heritage” reason would not be why the in a town with around 30 houses has 4 properties flying a confederate flag. I assume they are not proud of their southern heritage, just expressing their white supremist views.

    • A rebel and proud oif it

      You are a idiot!! I am ashamed to live in a town were someone like you lives.There is a person in Stockton that flies a German Flag because that is were they are from and no one has ever compained or callled her a Nazi.When I se this flag I think of the dukes of hazard,the general lee alamba and lynard skynard.The people that see it as racist must be the ones that are racist.

      • Pam

        A rebel and proud of it… I am guessing you were talking to Jim as that was the point I was trying to make to him. If you fly a German flag it does NOT represent Hitler or Nazism. Not sure my post came across correctly though ;-)

      • Jim

        There is nothing wrong with flying a German flag to show your pride in your heritage. If it was a Nazi Germany flag that would be a different story, don’t you agree?

  • Lee Roy

    What do you think of when you see the flag above?  What message do you think it sends?

    Racism?  Slavery?  Hatred?  White supremacy?

    Something worse?

    Now, what do you see when you look at the flag?  What is actually on the flag?

    The color Red?  White?  Blue? Thirteen stars?

    Is that all?  See anything else?

    Look closer and take some time to actually think about what you are seeing.  Examine every detail of the flag and it’s design, because the layout of the contents of this flag actually portrays the true message the flag is sending.

    And for the record… neither the design nor the content have anything to do with racism, slavery, hatred or white supremacy… or anything worse!

    All the COLOR could be removed from this flag, leaving just the outline of the details, and the true message the design is sending could still be determined by anyone with a basic knowledge of history and an ounce of common sense.

    .

    First of all, this flag is NOT the “Confederate Flag.”  It is the “Battle Flag of Northern Virginia.”  This design, however, is the one most synonymous with the term, and the one used in various forms on many of the other flags that were flown by the Confederate States.  It is also the one most hated by those who are completely and totally ignorant of what it stands for.

    So take another look at the flag and answer this very simple question : Do you see a big letter “X” anywhere on the flag?  What if I were to lay that X down on its side like this? :   Do you see it now?  The X is formed by the big, blue bands which are outlined with white trim.

    Now take another look at the flag.  On this big “X” there are thirteen white stars.  See them?  Do you know what these thirteen stars represent?  They represent the thirteen original, united colonies from which the United States began.  Each one of these colonies had its own system of self government… until the start of ‘northern aggression’ when the northern states began trying to usurp authority over the south

  • jeffrey matlick

    Lee Roy said what I wanted to and much more. The “Confederate” flag stood for much than just slavery and racism. Most are too ignorant and shallow to take the time to understand that.

  • maccaulay

    As a graduate from Durant, which Stockton goes into, I guess I’m thankful that at least there’s no picture of my high school captioned: “This is where they got the idea that Iowa was in the Confederacy.”

  • Billy Bearden

    Jane,
    Please learn some Iowa state history.
    Just 2 hours up the road from Stockton is Bentonsport.
    It was in that town in 1838 that Confederate General Sul Ross was born.
    http://www.iowacivilwarmonuments.com/cgi-bin/gaarddetails.pl?1210173217

    Jim,
    Is that a US Flag flying from the Stockon City Hall?
    Do you not understand that it was the US Flag that flew over legal slavery for 89 years?
    That it was the US flag – not a single Confederate Flag – that flew over slave ships bringing slaves to America?
    That it was the US Flag – not a Confederate flag – where Indians lost all thier land?
    That Indians were slaughtered by the millions under the US Flag?
    That Jim Crow existed only under the US Flag?
    That Segregation, Plessy vs Ferguson, 3/5ths of a person were laws that only existed under the US Flag?
    That over 66,000,000 babies are murdered under the US Flag by abortion – not a single aborted Confederate baby.

    • Elspeth

      BRAVO! The entirety of the US condoned the vicious imprisonment of slaves for the generation of wealth for the powerful few for nearly half of its existence. The confederate flag had little to do with slavery and the hatred of this particular symbol has more to do with the fact that war victors get to twist history to their liking.

  • chirs

    if you dont like it dont look at it. my school was call racist by kid form burlington and ths state of chicago because we flew that battle flag. my high school was Southern High School and we were the rebels and belles and we were in the southern part of henderson county. the school to the north was Unoin High School and were called the yankees and were in the northern part of henderson county. to me that flag is school pride. but every one else sees it as racist. people just need to get over there selves. that flag is as racist as Al Sharpton,Jesse Jackson, and President Obama.

  • Lucas May

    Really I LIVE IN THIS TOWN and I don’t care really have the kids don’t know about confederacy

    • Elspeth

      So you prefer the children to live in ignorance? Those who do not learn from history are DOOMED to repeat it. One cannot learn of the evil of the past without learning ABOUT the past. Your comment demonstrates one of the reasons why the wealthy elite in the big cities on the coasts believe that there should be an IQ test before one can vote.

  • Chantal Gummow-Hyde

    Ya’ll are ridiculous, talking about the flag standing for racism makes all of you look dumb. Know your history the Civil War was not started over just slavery it was started over state rights. Also to put us down cause we are from the south shows how little minded you are so maybe that’s why you think the flag stands for slavery. Calling us dumb and toothless ya’ll make me sick! I am from Arkansas and I’m a nursing major and I have all my teeth thank you very much. Flying that flag is protected under the 1st amendment so get over it. Let them fly!

  • Linda

    The man saying that he is trying to instill good values to his children has recently broken a binding contract, damaged personal property and stolen items. Maybe he should think about how he conducts his life instead of complaining about others!

  • Moogie

    Since when is Iowa considered the South?? It is true…the Civil War was not over slavery; it was over States Rights and competitive economics. I think it is their right to fly the flag and others rights to ignore it, comment on it or ignore it.

    • Carmen Brown

      It was over State’s Rights: THE RIGHT OF STATES TO ALLOW SLAVERY, even if they had to secede to do it.

      He next time you sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic in church or on the 4th of July, you might think about the words. Thousands of Union troops (and their families) did during that long, blood war.

  • Stephanie McLean

    It’s interesting that someone brought up Germany. The Nazi Flag did not represent the country, it represented a school of thought and that’s how I view the Confederate flag – it’s only representation to me is that of a sad and divided period of time in our country’s history. I’ve personally never understood some people’s pride behind displaying it but then I’m not from the South. To me, it only stands for senseless deaths and conflict.

    Anyway, no matter what the flag originally represented, it has evolved as a symbol in this country which represents willful ignorance of human rights and flagrant bigotry, largely in part to white supremacist groups who regularly use the Confederacy Flag when promoting their agendas. It’s a man’s right to appreciate his heritage and I support that but anyone who says there’s no connection between this particular flag and the strong negative responses it elicits from many are only lying to themselves.

  • Mickey Mouse

    You people that claim the Civil War was not fought over slavery are idiots, read the ordinances of succession from each state, they ALL reference the right to own slaves as the reason for leaving the Union. I weep for your children if you are somehow allowed to reproduce.

  • jim

    People who fly the rebel flag are people like that carry AK47’s around in public. Has nothing to do with history. Has everything to do with an “in your face” attitude with a little racisim thrown in.

  • shank

    if some bigot like these clowns were to try and fly one of those racist flags in my area id shoot them on sight.

  • Amanda Cox

    The mayor may have a 1st Amendment Right to fly the flag, but his constituents have a right to decide if they’re comfortable with his “speech” or not. If i were a black person residing in that town, I’d have to wonder just how MUCH of his “heritage”- and belief systems and prejudices he still clings to. The ONLY way I’d be completely at ease with this flag is if he were a civil war reenactor on the weekends. (Somebody has to play the losing side, right?) Just because you have the right to speak, doesn’t mean you’re automatically free from the repercussions of that speech. If his voters are okay with it, then’s probably not going to be much of a fuss. If enough of them aren’t okay with it, then there’s probably going to be some reaction to his speech and that’s THEIR right.

  • Darrin Bumstead

    Just curious , why they would want to raise the losing flag…
    Are they still saying the south will rise again?
    Are they contemplating starting up slavery again?
    Silly confederates , your flag is history and a pad part of this countries history at that..
    There is one flag for this country , and its the red , white and blue , stars and stripes..
    Deal with it

  • crabman1

    maybe they can lead the next war ——- this country needs a shake up and it wont be about race but you will have to pick a side

  • themachinist79

    Wow…It still floors me how many words can be exchanged with so little meaning. There are points to both sides that should be discussed in a respectful and thoughtful manner. I’d like to point out that neither side of this has accomplished that. Frankly, I’m embarrassed for you all.

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