Dear Tell All: You recently ran an article saying that Madison doesn't fly its flag because not everyone likes it, and also because Madison has more cultural cachet than Chicago and doesn't need it. This was in response to a reader suggesting we shouldn't hide the flag (“Why Does Madison Hide Its Flag?,” Jan. 2, 2017).
I moved to Madison after college six years ago. I didn't know about the flag until last year and I love it. I wish it was more visible and would love to see any polls you've run on how Madison residents feel about it.
Isthmus published an article recently about why Wisconsin needs a better flag. That article starts off: "There is a reason Neil Armstrong plunged Old Glory into the surface of the moon: Flags have power. We fly them high atop poles, hang them on our walls, burn them in protest and lower them to mourn the dead. We stick them on our car bumpers and print them on T-shirts, hats and underwear. Flags are used to conquer, unite and identify whatever corner of earth we call home." I'm curious when the Isthmus board made such a drastic reversal on the power of flags.
Fifty percent of the items you list as defining Madison culture — the ones that supposedly establish our brand and make a flag unnecessary — are related to the University of Wisconsin, including “Jump Around” on Badger game day, the Memorial Union Terrace, the Arboretum, the pink flamingos on Bascom Hill and Lady Liberty on the Lake. As a non-UW grad, I feel like a flag that represents the total Madison experience — Badger and non-Badger residents alike — would be very powerful.
Dear Flag Fan: I must tell you that there is no “Isthmus board” dictating a company-wide policy on flags. The owners allow individual writers to express our own opinions about symbolic pieces of cloth, and God bless ’em for it.
I must also tell you that all Madisonians are welcome at Badger football games, the Arboretum, and other outposts of UW-Madison culture. If you haven’t experienced any of these local traditions in the six years you’ve been here, you don’t need a flag; you need a reason to get out of the house more often.
Hey, I think it’s great that you love your adopted hometown enough to root for its flag. I also appreciate your disputatious nature — it proves that you really do belong here. How about we meet at the Memorial Union Terrace for a beer, and I can fill you in on Lady Liberty and the pink flamingos. They’re from before your time, and it’s a long story.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison?
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