New York Post, August 31, 2023
by James Bovard
Twelve-year old Jaiden was kicked out of a public-school classroom Monday in Colorado Springs after school officials decreed that the Gadsden flag patch on his backpack was “disruptive to the classroom environment.”
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. On Wednesday, the school district raised the white flag on its assault on the Gadsden flag.
That flag, with its yellow background and coiled rattlesnake, helped rally Americans to vanquish the British Army and Navy almost 250 years ago. 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 Barack Obama’s oppressive, intrusive policies, any opposition to his presidency was automatically racist.
Thus the Gadsden flag was irrevocably tainted by association.
As the Colorado school district declared, the flag is an “unacceptable symbol” linked to “white-supremacy.”
The Gadsden flag was further vilified by The New York Times-spurred 1619 campaign to paint the American Revolution as a vast conspiracy to perpetuate slavery. This notion is popular with journalists who have never read a book that was published before 2010.
The Colorado school district claimed the Gadsden flag has its “origins with slavery” because it was designed in 1775 by a South Carolinian who owned slaves. By the same standard, the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights could all be condemned since Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Mason were slaveowners.
Do the Wokesters want to condemn and expunge all of American history prior to the creation of the LGBT Rainbow flag?
That’s rhetorical — they do.
Many astute Americans are mystified at the retroactive demonization of this cherished symbol of liberty.
Olivia Rondeau, co-host of a Foundation for Economic Education online program, scoffed, “No one ever told my black family that the Gadsden flag was racist. I grew up seeing it around the house all the time. 2023 is something else.”
But the Gadsden flag became increasingly vilified even before the Tea Party protests. The real objection by officialdom is to the flag’s message: “Don’t Tread on Me.”
After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security pushed to treat the Gadsen flag practically as a terrorist warning signal.
DHS-funded Fusion Centers attached the “extremist” or potential terrorist tag to the individuals and groups displaying the Gadsden flag — as well as to individuals who assert a “right to keep and bear arms,” individuals “rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” (like many Founding Fathers did), people who are “reverent of individual liberty” and anyone with a “Know Your Rights or Lose Them” bumper sticker.
Law-enforcement agencies have come a long way since targeting Deadhead stickers on Cadillacs in the 1970s.
The FBI Domestic Terrorism Symbols Guide included the Gadsden flag as one of the “commonly references historical imagery or quotes” used by Militia Violent Extremism.
Maybe the feds should formally announce that “distrust of government” is now a hate crime?
Permitting Wokesters to turn the Gadsden flag into the moral equivalent of the Nazi swastika will only encourage more demolitions of American heritage. That flag will be needed as long as politicians keep trying to trample Americans’ liberties.