St Cloud is a distant suburb of Minneapolis — it’s about an hour’s drive away from the Twin Cities (can you still call that a suburb?). It’s a nice big town; my oldest son attended St Cloud State University, and still lives there. Unfortunately, it’s also Michele Bachmann country, is very Catholic, and is also infested with wingnutty Protestant megachurches. You get the vibe when you drive through it from just the billboards that seem to feature Jesus and Donald Trump in equal measure.
You can also guess what kind of culture is thriving there. There is a group calling itself the St Cloud White Student Union (not an official student organization at St Cloud State, and they also disavow any connection, but still, piggybacking on the reputation of the biggest nearby college is kind of skeevy) that has been posting signs, illegally, around the area.
Ray Sjogren, a St. Joseph resident, said he first spotted the posters leaving the post office on Wednesday. Signs said “unapologetically white,” “hate speech is free speech” and “there are two genders.”
Each poster contained a logo and the name of a group: “St. Cloud State White Student Union.”
St. Cloud State University spokesman Adam Hammer said in an email Wednesday night that the group is not a registered student organization.
A sampling of their signs:
At least there is a group, #UniteCloud, which is fighting back against this nonsense, and also, reading the White Student Union page, it looks like the racists are minuscule — it could just be one person who has been emboldened to spread more hate speech. But we mustn’t forget that Minnesota does have an undercurrent of ugly hate organizations, they’ve been here all along, and they’ve just been waiting for the proper conditions to blossom and spew their spores. Guess what? Those conditions have arrived.