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A Small Misunderstanding


Recently I encountered a Tea Party event.  In person.  A diverse assembly of rational fact-finders to be sure.  And amongst the biker bandanas, all-white Reeboks, and poorly spelled protest signs I saw an obnoxious number of bright yellow Gadsden flags.

The Gadsden flag, one of the first flags of the United States, was based on Ben Franklin’s visual concept of the thirteen colonies as a snake (embodying the perception that our fledgeling country is not unlike a timber rattler in temperament: eyes always open, attacking only in defense and with apt warning, and courageously persistent once provoked).  It was popularly used during the Revolutionary War as an icon representing dissatisfaction with the idea of taxation without representation.

It has since been popularized by Libertarians as an overwrought expression of dissatisfaction with government in general.  Teabaggers have apparently just been made aware of the flag’s existence, and seem to have co-opted it to mean “no taxation without representation I like,” or, to put it differently, “I hate government but only when my side loses.”  They weren’t flying these flags when Bush was pissing away the budget surplus or starting wars without paying for them.  Suddenly a Democrat (or black man, depending on how much you like to read between the lines) is in charge and it’s tyranny.  Tyranny, I tell you!

I’m not really making a point here that other people haven’t made, of course.  But the obnoxiousness of these folks’ use of this historically interesting flag, and the hypocrisy of the way they use it, have prompted me to make a new flag to mock them.  I’m not even sure why I think it’s funny, exactly, other than perhaps that I just don’t take them seriously.  Or maybe it’s that if this is “treading” on them– you know, lowering their income tax and expanding their gun rights, both of which Obama has done– then perhaps a flag is needed to welcome such treading.  If lowering my taxes, improving healthcare, making employers pay women the same as men, allowing gay families the right to visit each other in the hospital, etc. etc. etc. constitutes treading, then bring it on.  Hence, the pink banner of representational appreciation:

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tracey O'Brien permalink
    04/17/2010 10:53 am

    Racism. Racism. Racism. Racism. Racism. Racism. Did I mention racism?

  2. Anonymous permalink
    04/18/2010 4:23 am

    Interesting. I like it when commentary is accompanied by interesting flag design.

  3. 04/19/2010 6:04 am

    I like the design and think using one’s symbology/ism against them is awesome. Like many things – the concept of taxation w/o reprensenation, “FREEDOM,” , etc. the Teabaggers typically have no idea what they’re talking about. Their idea of history is what suits them best. Nice work.

    • mcliatt permalink*
      04/19/2010 11:50 pm

      Thanks. I kind of want to make some stickers and put one on my car. As soon as about a thousand people think it’s a good idea I’ll get some made up.

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