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IPFS News Link • American History

Trampling on a Symbol of Liberty

•, by James Bovard

Those Colorado officials didn't know the meaning of "disruptive."

Thanks to savvy, thoughtful retorts by Jaiden's mother in a video showdown at the school, the incident spurred a fierce backlash around America. Less than a week later, the school district raised the white flag on its assault on the Gadsden flag.

The flag's real history

That flag, with its yellow background and coiled rattlesnake, helped rally Americans to vanquish the British Army and Navy almost 250 years ago. As the Encyclopedia Brittanica noted, "The rattlesnake symbol originated in the 1754 political cartoon "Join, or Die" published in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette. The cartoon, which depicted the colonies divided as segments of a cut-up snake, exhorted the colonists to unite in the face of the French and Indian War (1754–63). The symbol was later used to represent unity during the Revolutionary War." The flag became one of the most iconic symbols of the American Revolution, venerated far and wide until recent years.

Where did the Gadsden flag go wrong? Tea Party activists waved the "Don't Tread on Me" banner during anti-Obama protests. According to the liberal media, regardless of Obama's oppressive, intrusive policies, any opposition to his presidency was automatically racist. Thus, the Gadsden flag was irrevocably tainted by association.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission added fuel to this fire:

On January 8, 2014, a U.S. Postal Service maintenance mechanic in Denver, Colorado filed a complaint of discrimination based on race (African American) and reprisal for prior EEO activity when: (1) beginning in the fall of 2013, a coworker repeatedly wore a cap to work with an insignia of a flag with a rattlesnake ready to strike and slogan "Don't Tread on Me," (2) the coworker continued to wear the cap after management had assured Complainant that they would tell the coworker not to, and (3) on September 2, 2013, a coworker photographed him on the work room floor without Complainant's consent. According to the federal sector process, that complaint was filed with the employing agency — the U.S. Postal Service.

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