The was never any doubt in my mind that the cultural cleansing of Confederate flags and symbols would be expanded into something much broader:
The EEOC has already ruled that coworkers’ wearing Confederate flag T-shirts can be punishable harassment (a decision that I think is incorrect); and, unsurprisingly, this is extending to other political speech as well.
On January 8, 2014, Complainant filed a formal complaint in which he alleged that the Agency subjected him to discrimination on the basis of race (African American) and in reprisal for prior EEO activity when, starting in the fall of 2013, a coworker (C1) repeatedly wore a cap to work with an insignia of the Gadsden Flag, which depicts a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Complainant stated that he found the cap to be racially offensive to African Americans because the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a “slave trader & owner of slaves.” (emphasis added)
Stop and think about the criteria emphasized above. If anything associated with a “slave trader” or “owner of slaves” is now tainted and subject to removal from the public square, then we have lost the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and pretty much the entire foundation of our heritage. It takes discernment to make distinctions between attitudes and actions we now recognize as wrong (i.e. enslavement and racism), and legitimate contributions by human beings every bit as flawed and imperfect as we are today. Regrettably, discernment is sorely lacking in our society today.
The EEOC acknowledges (then ignores) the context of the creation of the Gadsden flag, which was an early symbol of the rebellion that became known as the American Revolution. While the Southern Cross or the Stars and Bars (not the same flag!) can be legitimately criticized for their association with a breakaway region explicitly devoted to the preservation of slavery and racial hierarchy during the War Between the States, the Gadsden Flag has NO such historical connotation, despite a few modern groups’ attempts to appropriate it for such causes.
I believe this storied yellow flag is being targeted because of its association with the Tea Party protests of a few years ago against Obamacare and other examples of ineffective, inefficient, wasteful and unresponsive government. It remains a symbol of defiance and independence, which runs contrary to the increasing demands for compliance and conformity in our land. Thus, symbols that inspire and remind Americans about their heritage must be controlled or eliminated. (Prediction: they’ll go after this symbol next.)
People like myself with genuine concerns about the direction of our country tried a few years ago to demonstrate and appropriately ‘petition for the redress of grievances,’ and the Gadsden Flag quickly became a symbol of that segment of the citizenry — which should have been a warning to any leader with a sense of history. But at the time the professional punditry and not a few of our national leaders smeared the whole movement as some sort of racist enterprise and ignored them. Then they were surprised at the sudden surge of support for a deeply flawed and disruptive candidate like Trump.
There’s a lesson there: when people believe acting traditionally and respectfully gets their legitimate concerns libeled and dismissed, they stop acting as civilly. If our national leaders (on both sides of the aisle) don’t start actively addressing these concerns–the very real negative effects of free trade and unfettered immigration, a lack of faith that our nation is secure, bloated, wasteful and ineffective agencies and programs, and a general sense that our whole government is just one great big racket for the well-connected–then the next standard bearer for them is likely to be even less palatable from a civil, traditional perspective.
The clock is ticking, the tinder is drier than it’s been in generations, and we have perhaps the most tone-deaf, insular and arrogant leadership class in our nation’s history. Absent a miracle, I don’t expect this to play out well.
Based on their frantic cultural cleansing, it appears they don’t, either.