Minn. City Councilman Defends Confederate Flag Outside His Home: ‘My Free Speech’

Yahoo! News, February 12, 2012

A Minnesota city councilman has a Confederate flag hanging outside his home and says he’s not taking it down, no matter what people say.

“It’s my house,” West St. Paul Councilman Ed Hansen told the Pioneer Press. “What’s the problem?”

Plenty, according to the city’s mayor, John Zanmiller. The flag, visible from a busy avenue and to visitors at a nearby park, also has the word “redneck” written across it.


While the mayor acknowledged he is not aware of any complaints made to the city, he reached out to Hansen on Friday about taking it down. Hansen declined, and Zanmiller acknowledged the decision is ultimately Hansen’s.

Hansen, a first-term councilman elected in 2010, told the Pioneer Press he put the flag outside his house over the summer to no complaints. {snip}

“It represents sovereignty, individual rights and individual liberty,” he told the newspaper. “It’s my free speech, and that’s my choice.”

He dismissed any racist connotation the flag carries.

“I’m not a racist, and I don’t think it’s racist,” he said. “People like to play the race card, though, when they don’t get their way.”

Jay Brunn, a developer who’s building a house next to Hansen’s, claimed the flag caused one prospective buyer to shy away.

When informed of that, Hansen told the Pioneer Press: “Good. I don’t want him for a neighbor then. If people choose to be ignorant, that’s their own fault. They should study history. It represents true sovereignty.”

[Editor’s Note: Ed Hansen’s email address is [email protected] Feel free to send him words of encouragement.]

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  • Tim

    He “reached out to Hansen on Friday about taking it down”… Reminds me of the one good line in the Jim Belushi movie, The Principal. The one where he offers to make friends with the narco-pimp running the school. The Pimp says, “If you`re reaching out to me, I just cut your hand off!!”  The moment doesn`t last though because the principal says, “That`s okay! I`ve got another one…”

  • Anonymous

    Like it or not, the Stars and Bars presently stands for a social system in which blacks were slaves, all historical nuances be damned.  I do wear a lapel pin to show my affection for Southern culture, but not the Stars and Bars; I wear a Bonnie Blue Flag lapel pin.  I think Mr. Zanmiller picks his battles poorly. 

    • Anonymous

      Slavery existed for a much longer time under the US flag than it did under the CSA flag. 
      Recall also that there were slave states on the Union side of the conflict. 

      • Anonymous

         Fellows, like it or not, displays of the Confederate flag are not defensible in the public sphere; the waning values of Southern culture are.  Why pick silly fights, when there is a much larger war going on, which by the way, we are not winning.

        • “Why pick silly fights, when there is a much larger war going on…”

          If you can’t even win a silly fight, then you’re certainly not going to win a war.

    • .

      I agree one should choose their battles carefully. And I agree that public displays probably aren’t the best way to fight that battle. I think joining the SCV is better. Having said that, I will allow neither the NAACP, KKK nor YOU to dictate to me what the “Stars and Bars presently stands for”.


    I testified at the City of West Saint Paul Council meeting
    on 2/13/12 about the obnoxiousness of Ed Hansen’s display of the Confederate
    States of America’s (CSA) battle flag known as the Stars and Bars.  I pointed out that as a Symbol – the Stars
    and Bars battle flag represents a cause to overthrow the Government of the
    United States of American with Force and Violence – which is a clear violation
    of the Alien Registration Act of 1940, also known as the Smith Act of 1940.

    This Symbol – representing the overthrow of the American
    Government – by force and violence – is responsible for the deaths of about
    650,000 innocent Americans – which is more American deaths than ALL of the
    other wars that America has been involved in since 1776 !!!!

    I asked that 4 actions come out of my testimony – 1.) That
    Mr. Hansen remove the display of the CSA battle flag; 2.) That Mr. Hansen issue
    a public apology to the residents of West Saint Paul; 3.) That the City Council
    begin censorship procedures against Mr. Hansen; and 4.) That the City Council
    begin a Grand Jury investigation into any and all Subversive Activities that
    Mr. Hansen may be involved in.

    I consider that Mr. Hansen’s pride in the display of the CSA
    battle flag – is a clear symbolic act of advocating the overthrow of the
    American Government by force and violence – a subversive act – that is also a
    violation of the Smith Act of 1940. 
    About 215 subversive Communists, Trotskyites, and Fascists have been
    convicted under the Smith act – and these subversive folk have paid fines and
    gone to prison for these subversive activities. 
    Mr. Hansen’s subversive activities need a full investigation !!!

    Robert Allen – a resident in Ward 1 of West Saint Paul, Mn –
    the ward that Mr. Hansen does a so-called job of representing !!  

    • Dear Robertroll:

      Do you approve of flying the American flag?

    • Rory O’Shaughnessy

      Robert Allen you are a coward.

    • Anonymous

      Your “history”  is all entirely false. The CSA was not trying to take over the central government-they simply wanted to be independent. All those deaths were caused by Lincoln’s war launched to keep the seceding states within the USA.

    • Just curious Robert, do you get as equally upset when you see the rag of mexico hoisted in all its glory on American soil? What do you think that represents?

    • R P

      I am going to guess Robert Allen of West Saint Paul, MN is an educator. How else could could his knowledge of America history be so perverted and incorreect? 

  • Anonymous

    While I sort-of agree with him, I’m not sure I would not want this freedom extended to other battle flags of other countries.

  • Anonymous

    An Australian blogger provides a handy list of other flags that need to be banned:
    * The flag of the Soviet Union, the hammer and sickle. You can get Soviet military uniforms and flags at many army wholesalers. I got a Soviet winter hat years ago with the hammer and sickle emblem pinned on. Yet, more people and peoples, in both absolute and per capita numbers, died under the Jewish inspired and dominated Bolshevik revolution than those people and peoples who were killed under the Nazis.
    * The national flag of Japan. This flag is still being flown outside their embassy here in Australia even though the Japanese brutally slaughtered thousands of Australian prisoners of war. Sandakan Death Marches and Changi railway being just two. What about the Rape of Nanking, what with all the Chinese we now have in Oz, isn’t the Japanese flag a sign of intolerance and insensititvity? What is the RSL doing about the national flag of Japan? Nothing, that’s what. We are all told to forget and forgive, let bygones be bygones. In fact, Japanese corporations now manufacture cars in Oz, and own large swathes of Australian property. As do the Chinese. Which reminds me, what about the flag of those brutal genocodalist Communist Chinese, who slaughtered millions under Mao Tse Tung? Oh, the insensitivity!!
    * The Israel flag. Palestinians, whether for right or wrong, feel that the flag of Israel is that of an oppressor. They even draw equivalence between Israel and the dread, dread, DREAD!!! Nazis!!!! How about council investigate the option of a local law to ban Israel flags?

    He should have included the flag of the genocidal PRC. Free Tibet!

    • He did include the Chinese flag, but failed to mention Tibet.

  • I’ve sent him an email of encouragement.


  • Marcy Fleming

     Thanks !

  • Anonymous

    Read “The Real Lincoln” by Thomas DiLorenzo.  Lincoln was not the great president that historians make him out to be.  He was a tyrant and a despot of the worst kind . . .

  • “…he’s not taking it down, no matter what people say.”

    He backed down. He took his flag down. As of 18 hours ago. They called the company that own’s his restaurant franchise, and they were not happy with a rebel flag. Another white man unwilling to take a risk to stand up for what he believes.

  • .


    I’m a Southerner and I appreciate that. I’ve met a few Northerners who were prejudiced against Southerners. Them I don’t like. But I’ve got nothing against “Yankees” who have nothing against me. As a matter of fact, I respect someone who can be proud of their heritage without getting down on someone else. You’re alright with me.

    • Me too! By the way , if you family has been Americans and fought in the Revolution , then you probably had family on both sides. I have one of those stories myself. My g-g-g grandfather came from France with his 3 brothers. The came in through New Orleans, he settled in Alabama, his brothers moved on to Indiana and settled. Peter was drafted in 1863 into the 61st Alabama, his brothers fought for the union. To make a long story short, Peter named his last child Indiana in honor of his brothers!! I think we have a “shared” history.