By: Susan Knowles
Yesterday, I read that the Obama Administration has ordered the Navy Seals to remove the “Navy Jack” or the “don’t tread on me” flag from their uniforms. The Navy Jack has been a symbol of the U.S. Navy for over two centuries.
It was Benjamin Franklin who first used the symbol of a rattlesnake in 1751 to make a point. During this time, Great Britain was sending their criminals to America and it was Franklin who suggested that America send Britain rattlesnakes as a thank you.
Franklin went on to use the rattlesnake in 1754. He cut the snake into eight pieces which represented the eight colonies in America. Under the snake were the words “Join or Die.” Franklin would later go on to state that the snake would be a good representation of the American spirit.
The flag originally got its start in the military in 1775 and was designed by an American general Christopher Gadsden. While it is known as the “don’t tread on me” flag it is also known as the Gadsden flag. The U.S. Marine Corps used this flag as their motto. The yellow flag depicts a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike. The words “don’t tread on me” appear underneath the snake.
The U.S. Navy was established in 1775 with the purpose of stopping British ships from delivering supplies to British troops positioned in the colonies. U.S. Marines accompanied the U.S. Navy on their mission. The Marines carried drums painted yellow with a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, representing the thirteen original colonies. Underneath the coiled snake were the words “don’t tread on me.”
Right before the Navy left on their first mission, then Colonel Gadsden presented Commodore Hopkins with the yellow rattlesnake “don’t tread on me flag” as a show of solidarity. The flag represents one of the first flags of the United States which was later replaced by the flag we have now. Flying this flag is a First Amendment right protected under the U.S. Constitution.
Why is a history lesson important when discussing this administration’s ordering of the Navy Seals to remove the “don’t tread on me symbol?” Because this symbol represents America! It illustrates who we are at our core. We are hardworking, never give up, freedom fighters who love this country. This flag represents everything that constitutionalists stand for and everything that this administration hates about America.
It goes beyond a patch worn on the uniform of a serviceman or woman and this administration knows it. It is the very identity of the beginnings of our country and our military with their purpose to “support and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”
I believe that the removal of the symbol by the administration is an attempt to strip the military of its historical identity in this country and secondly, an attempt to turn America’s very military against its own people.
The Tea Party uses this “don’t tread on me” flag as their symbolic fight to preserve the U.S. Constitution. They are astrong and influential group of individuals that are seen as perhaps the last roadblock in the administration’s attempts to usurp the constitution. Both progressive Democrats and progressive Republicans are afraid of what the Tea Party can do to their cause if left intact.
The upcoming mid-term elections and 2016 presidential election are must wins for the Democrats to hold on to power and continue to chip away at the U.S. Constitution, a document that they see as outdated and perhaps as insignificant as America’s history itself.
The Tea Party and the military have much in common regarding their allegiance to the constitution. The Tea Party seeks to preserve American’s rights as listed in the U.S. Constitution while the military seeks to protect it against all enemies foreign and domestic. The “don’t tread on me” symbol is a bond these two groups share.
The act of stripping the Navy Seals of this important American symbol is also an effort to “psychologically” separate the military from the Tea Party. It is a way for this administration to divide and conquer in the event the military is ordered to prohibit the Tea Party from asserting their First Amendment rights in the future. The Obama administration is counting on the fact that once the historical significance and the bond have been lost, the Tea Party will stand alone as the “enemy” of the State.
Perhaps in the not too distant future, the military will need to ask itself who in fact is violating the constitution and where their allegiance should lie. History will show that this administration hates the “rattlesnake.” Hopefully, history will also show that the military carried the “rattlesnake” proudly and honorably into every battle.
Susan Knowles is an author, psychotherapist and former practicing attorney. Her latest book, a political fiction, is entitled, “Freedom’s Fight: A Call to Remember” available on Amazon.com. Her website is www.susanknowles.com, where this article may also be found.