August 28, 2009
The mayor of Hampstead, Maryland, will replace the town’s municipal flag with the Gadsen flag on September 1, a press release reports. Newly elected mayor Haven N. Shoemaker ordered the switch through executive order to protest anticipated cuts in state funding to local governments including Hampstead.
|Tea Party activists in Sacramento, California, display the Gadsen flag.|
“We have the so-called stimulus which is nothing more than an unprecedented issuance of debt. We have ObamaCare. In Maryland, we have a complete failure by Governor O’Malley and the Legislature to balance the state budget,” Shoemaker said. “The $3.8 billion in federal money sent to Maryland was wasted on pork barrel projects and social program spending rather than on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. Now the State is dumping their failure of fiscal leadership into our laps.”
Shoemaker hopes other mayors will follow suit. “Maybe this won’t amount to anything. Maybe other local governments will decide to join us. In any event, the people in Hampstead will know that there is still one level of government left in America that is of the people, by the people and for the people.”
[efoods]The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. The use of the timber rattlesnake on the yellow flag as a symbol of the American colonies can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin. In 1751, he made the first reference to the rattlesnake in a satirical commentary published in his Pennsylvania Gazette. It had been the policy of Britain to send convicted criminals to America, and Franklin suggested that they thank the British by sending rattlesnakes to England. During the Revolutionary War, the snake image was used as a symbol of the colonies. Since the Revolution, the flag has seen times of reintroduction as both a symbol of American patriotism and as a symbol of disagreement with the government.
The Gadsen flag was adopted by the Tea Party movement. Earlier this year, the Missouri Information Analysis Center characterized the flag as “anti-government propaganda” displayed by militia members.
In the months ahead, as state and local governments go bankrupt and are unable to fulfill their commitments, the “rightwing extremist” Gadsen flag may be adopted by other cities and municipalities around the country as a form of protest against an out of control federal government.