Don’t Tread on Me Bro!

Question: Would the Tea Party approve or disapprove of this image and why?

Many members of the Tea Party have been hoisting the Gadsen Flag (aka “Don’t tread on me”) as a symbol of their anti-government sentiments. The history of the Gadsen Flag is pretty interesting. The concept of the USA being represented by a rattesnake comes originally from Ben Franklin, who used it to deliver a pro-union message during the French and Indian war. While the Civil war was over 100 years later, it still seems ironic that anyone would fly the Confederate battle flag along side the Gadsen flag. And yet people do.

For me personally, the most interesting recent use has been in US soccer. In fact, Philadelphia’s expansion team features the snake in its logo. I like the contrast between soccer’s foreign air with the highly-patriotic, rough and tumble image of the Don’t Tread on Me rattlesnake. It’s also interesting to contrast the sport’s international focus when using the symbol with the domestic political focus, more targeted towards internal enemies, real or imagined. I would like to reclaim the rattlesnake as an American symbol of unity and strength.


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