The Gadsden Flag was our first national battle flag, and for awhile it was our fist national ensign. A variation of it flew from the few Continental Navy ships that dared to challenge His Majesty’s fleet on the high seas, and it was also the first flag of the Marine Corps. It has a unique and important niche in the pantheon of American imagery.
The imagery of the Gadsden said it all for the Founders, philosophically and rhetorically. The rattlesnake was indigenous to the colonies and was uniquely American in nature. Like the rattlesnake, the colonists desired peace and to be left alone. The vipers intimidating and distinct rattlers served as an unmistakable warning to any who threatened it or intruded on its territory. The caption, “Don’t Tread On Me” was also clear. Leave us in peace, but the warning implicit to those who molested the snake was clear.
The Founders saw themselves very much like the rattlesnake. Desirous of peace, hard to provoke, and giving fair warning to those that threatened it to prevent violence, but capable of swift and deadly action if their warnings were ignored.
The Gadsden’s historical imagery and clear message was why it became so popular with the Tea Party Patriots and Americans who remember our heritage in 2009, and why it remains so to this day. One of my favorite signs seen at the Tea Party protests was one that said “We came unarmed, this time.” That message is also unambiguous and clear, and one that the statist elites ignore at their own peril.
Now we again face the threat of massive infringements on our Civil Liberties as the statists once again seek to exploit a national tragedy to advance their agenda of governmental control. The unprecedented run on militia firearms should serve as a warning as clear to them as the rattles of the Gadsden snake do. People are not buying these rifles so they can be grandfathered in, they’re buying them because they are waking up and realizing the gravity of the situation and the frightening prospect of the elites true intentions. They are rediscovering the history that the statists want to “transform”.
If they continue on the path of tyranny that they are advocating, our dear Gadsden Flag will be replaced by this one.