Good Flag Day stuff from the Dutchman.
It is the stars and stripes that have been carried by all sides in every protest movement throughout our history — for every point of view wants to proclaim that it, and not the other side, is the AMERICAN point of view — no matter how true or false that proposition might be. It is the stars and stripes with which we bury our war dead and our veterans. It is the stars and stripes that our courts permit to be burned in protest because we recognize that the reality of free speech is that such an act represents is more important than the piece of cloth that represents it, that symbolizes it.
But as I have said before in other places and at other times, we are today in fact two nations — as they were in 1775 — divided by the answer to this fundamental question: Does the government serve the people or do the people serve the government? Whatever the individual issue that we fight over these days, the answer always boils down to that. Who serves whom? Do we serve the government of does the government serve us as the Founders intended?
Yet however we answer that question it is certainly true that both sides embrace the same flag. Yet how can that be, when we try to fold it around such mutually contradictory beliefs? If one side or the other is right about who serves whom, then one side represents the true nature, the true philosophy, behind that flag and the other does not.
Throughout our history, all sides have claimed her — have wrapped their causes in her. The same flag carried by civil rights marchers in the 60s was brandished by Klansmen at rallies and even lynchings in both South and North. Did the flag truly represent both? Either? Scoundrels and would-be tyrants throughout our history have wrapped themselves in her, disguising their evil intent as affected patriotism, in “Americanism,” however they wanted to define that term and regardless of whether the Founders would have recognized it. Indeed, by claiming as it does to represent ALL of us regardless of our mutually exclusive beliefs, in times like these it comes close to representing NONE of us. In the end, the stars and stripes will represent whichever side wins the argument of the answer to that question — does the government serve the people or do the people serve the government? The flag, in the end, will either continue to represent liberty and the Founders’ Republic or it will represent a masked tyranny hateful to the Founders’ intent.
These are sobering thoughts on this Flag Day but they are true nonetheless. We must answer that question at the end of history — which country does the stars and stripes represent? For in the end it certainly cannot represent both.
The Gadsden flag, with its threatening rattlesnake and bold warning “Don’t tread on me” is perhaps more plainly honest, more unambiguous, than the stars and stripes. Freed of the burden of being the national colors which seem to be saddled with the necessity of being all things to all people, the Gadsden flag is plain in its declaration of free men and the rights to our own liberty and property and lives. Don’t threaten me, it warns. Or, in the words of some of this generation — “Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’.” It is not as blunt as the Gonzales flag of Texas liberty with its image of a cannon and the challenge “Come and take it,” but it is close enough, as they say, “for government work.”
This is why the Gadsden flag is so popular at rallies of today’s liberty movements — from the Tea Party to the protesters of the Federal land grab at the Bundy Ranch and elsewhere in the west to Second Amendment activists of today — the message is clear: There is a line, Mr. Government Bureaucrat, that you cross at your own deadly peril. “Don’t tread on me.” DON’T TREAD ON US!
It is for this reason that the collectivists — the domestic enemies of the Founders’ Republic — are made somewhat angered, if not deranged, by the Gadsden flag. Its sentiment is plain — it cannot be polluted or corrupted or co-opted. They must therefore do their best to demonize it, to discredit it, to profane it, and to lie about those who fly it. We have seen that very clearly in their reaction to the Miller meth-head murderers’ misuse of the Gadsden flag in their Nevada rampage. The flag is itself “anti-government” they proclaim and proof that the Millers represent the rest of us “anti-government types.”
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not “anti-government,” although the Southern Poverty Law Center has been calling me that for two decades now. I am in fact pro-government of the kind the Founders would recognize. I am pro small government, safe government — a government of limited powers — a government that supports the rule of law AND OPERATES WITHIN IT. When our enemies — those domestic enemies of the Constitution that the Founders warned us about — call us “anti-government” what they really mean is that we are anti-“do-it-our-way-or-we’ll-kill-you” government. Of course they’re right about that, but they cannot honestly admit it to others that they are trying to convince, so they call us “anti-government” and hope the lie sticks.
Read all of it, which includes a recounting of Mike’s face-to-face at the Bundy ranch with those meth-head murderers he mentioned.