Don’t Tread On Me

On July 2, 1776, 56 unruly subjects of King George III signed a treasonous document. For more than five years they, along with many of their neighbors, had tried (to no avail) to convince the King that taxation without representation was wrong in the face of English Common Law. The King had responded to their attempts at negotiation with further attacks on their rights – along with more taxes.

The Declaration of Independence was, in reality, a last-ditch effort to stop the King and Parliament from trampling the basic freedoms of their colonial subjects. The King claimed that colonists owed England for protection during the French and Indian War (the colonial theater of the Seven Years’ War). In truth, the war hadn’t been fought simply to protect the colonies. It had largely been waged to stop the French from settling in the areas surrounding the British Colonies. It was an expansionist war, meant to secure future settling rights for the British. The colonists fought in that war, too – they didn’t have to, but they did it as loyal subjects of the Crown.

England was responsible for her own debt. They were unwilling to shoulder it, so taxes were levied in the Colonies without giving them a say in the decision. Colonists were, understandably, royally pissed off. Demonstrations were held. Colonists refused to pay the taxes. In frustration, King George sent more troops – who promptly began violating colonists’ rights as they tried to enforce the King’s edicts.

Colonists were forced to quarter British Regulars. Those that owned businesses were forced to give food, clothing, arms, ammunition, and other material aid to Regulars without any form of compensation. As the conflict worsened, the British started confiscating guns from the colonists to stop them from fighting back. It was all for the common good, of course.

The actual Revolution was a hard-fought war to secure the rights and freedom of a new nation. Those who supported the rebels – or the Patriots, as they called themselves – were branded traitors.

Now, 237 years later, we face similar intrusions on our freedoms. Rather than taxes for a war, we are told that the cause is charity. Those who don’t have as much need help, they say. Don’t question whether they are actually in need – that’s offensive. We are told that it is unfair to have more, and if we do we should “pay our fair share.” Benjamin Franklin warned us that a government big enough to give us everything we want would be powerful enough to take everything we have. The warning has been forgotten.

We’re being told that we shouldn’t want to enforce immigration laws. We shouldn’t limit people who want to come to America – they tell us that these poor immigrants only want to work. Again, we’re not allowed to question the motives of those coming from other countries. Ignore the ones who deal drugs, kill cops, and rape teenage girls…after all, they might have been good people if only we had given them legal status. It’s heartless, they say, to force people to pass background checks just to come to America.

Now that our freedoms are being stripped away, the Gadsden Flag – the yellow banner bearing the coiled snake with the words “don’t tread on me” on it – has once again become a rallying point. It is every bit as controversial now as it was back then. Power has corrupted our lawmakers; they pass laws that most haven’t read and don’t understand. They pressure each other into passing them by using emotional arguments void of any semblance of intellect. They vote themselves pay raises they haven’t earned and many hold office until they die.

Our Republic has turned into a de facto dictatorship. The leeches on our society have grown to such numbers that it is no longer abnormal to see complete idiots in public office perpetuating the lie that the government is there to provide. Celebrities use their power to pressure the public into accepting further attacks on basic freedoms in the name of the common good – just as evil and wrong now as it was in 1773, when the Sons of Liberty threw the tea into Boston Harbor.

The reason for the snake on the Gadsden Flag was simple. A rattlesnake is a defensive but deadly animal. It won’t strike unless threatened, but if it must strike, it can kill. The parallel is just as necessary now as then.

We will not give up our guns. We will not allow any more intrusions into our private lives. Basic freedoms will not be trampled in the name of the common good any longer.