There’s no place like home, especially if it’s Kansas

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Almost every time I read a piece of news Pam Spaulding has dug up, my mouth, as the song goes, drops open like a country pond. Posting at Pandagon, Pam tells about a 12-year-old Kansas boy who visited the Oz Museum and bought a souvenir, a rainbow-colored flag. “Over the Rainbow” is, of course, from the film, The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland is said to have once remarked to a woman in a nightclub ladies’ room, “Lady, I’ve got rainbows up my ass,” a sentiment that is being felt in Meade, Kansas right now, for all the wrong reasons.

The boy’s father, J.R. Knight, who owns the Lakeway Hotel, a bed and breakfast, in Meade, hung the flag on the outside his b&b, next to the American flag. Everything went fine until the local newspaper reported that a gay flag was hanging outside the Lakeway.

The first problem with this tale is that the local people did not know that there was such a thing as a rainbow flag until they read about it in the newspaper. So much for diversity education. But once they found out about it, they got busy running their mouths off, and how.

It turns out that the newspaper reporter didn’t bother to call Knight and ask him about the flag. So much for journalism. The local radio station called him, though, to tell him it was removing the hotel restaurant’s commercial spots if the flag didn’t come down. A local pastor told him that what he had done was equivalent to hanging a pair of women’s panties on a flag pole, which just goes to show you, these people are thinking about sex a lot. Another man said: “To me it’s just like running up a Nazi flag in a Jewish neighborhood. I can’t walk into that establishment with that flag flying because to me that’s saying that I support what the flag stands for and I don’t.” Right–because we all know there are no gay or bisexual people or people who support them in Kansas. And certainly not in Meade.

Knight says that he is glad for the flag to be seen as a gay pride symbol or anything else.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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