Dating back to its creation during the American Revolution, the Gadsden flag has been a symbol of patriotism, freedom and the American spirit. More recently, groups and individuals have begun using the flag for similar reasons — though instead of fighting for freedom against the governments of other countries, it’s freedom against our own government.
Lately, however, the flag has been seen as a symbol of hatred.
After a black postal service employee filed a complaint with a federal agency entitled the Equal Employment Commission because his coworker wore a hat with the Gadsden flag prominently displayed, discussions were had over whether or not the flag was inherently racist. The Equal Employment Commission ultimately ruled that it wasn’t, though they did state, “Certainly, Complainant ascribes racial connotations to the symbol based on observations that it is sometimes displayed in racially-tinged situations.”
It’s a bit of an absurd statement, because in specific contexts, virtually anything can be utilized for negative purposes. Symbols mean different things to different people. To most of us, the Gadsden flag is a symbol of American freedom and individual rights. It has nothing to do with race, gender or anything else. It never has and it never will.
This whole ordeal is especially ironic, considering the flag’s text reads, “DON’T TREAD ON ME,” and those that want the flag to be censored are indisputably treading on the rights and freedoms of those who want to display the Gadsden design.
It’s yet another issue that is being exploited in order to raise tensions that inevitably divide the American people into smaller and smaller groups so that we can be controlled more easily. Most of us are simply trying to survive in this unpredictable, increasingly chaotic world. The last thing we need is more division, more hatred and more reasons to seclude ourselves from one another. In times like this, it’s important to be understanding and respectful of our fellow man.
So please don’t tread on us.