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Don't Tread On Me

By The Reverend Published: June 30, 2010

Readers of this blog know that I have very little respect or admiration for America's corporate media.

At the same time, I also realize that nothing is always black or always white. Fox News, for example, at times, does report some truth in with their non-stop advocacy for the Republican Party.

Chris Matthews, of MSNBC's Hardball, is a weird duck in establishment media. For example, he, boringly, reminds everyone all the time that he, alone, comprehends the correct pronunciation of Dick Cheney's last name. It's Cheeney....not Chaney...says the spittle fleck spewing, talking head, and he says it over and over....and if anyone gives a damn.

However, in Monday night's "Let Me Finish" segment, Matthews got it exactly right when he paid tribute to Robert Byrd.

Only 2 minutes 15 seconds....

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The Tea Party movement in the U.S. is very fond of the "Don't Tread On Me" rattlesnake flag. Benjamin Franklin said this about the rattlesnake's appropriateness as an early American symbol.....

She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.

To Tea Partyers who proudly and boldly wave the Gadsden is an emblem of "taking their country back" from the Democratic officials Americans...umm....elected. The "thinking", as I understand it, is that a democratically elected bunch of Democrats are "treading" on America, attacking America...with the implied threat from these same Tea Partyers (see Sharron Angle) that if America continues to democratically elect Democrats....."real Americans" will have to strike back, somehow. Resort to "2nd amendment remedies", perhaps.

As with most traditional understandings of America and American history, the Tea Partyers have simply distorted the authentic meaning of the Gadsden flag to suit their own "angry" purposes.

Chris Matthews, gets it right when he reinforces the true meaning of the symbolic coiled rattlesnake-bearing flag. America, traditionally, has not started wars. Just like Franklin said long the rattlesnake, America, "never begins the attack."

At least until 2003. The crime of the last administration.....the one Robert Byrd so clearly and correctly stated before America attacked the sovereign and non-threatening nation of Iraq.....was violating, both legally and symbolically, the notion that the United States doesn't attack other countries unless we are first "tread" upon.

Byrd's self-admitted proudest vote in the Senate was the one he correctly cast against the Bush-Cheney, cut-from-whole-cloth, pre-emptive war doctrine made real in the act of unilateral aggression against Iraq.

Iraq didn't "tread" on the American "rattlesnake." Nor did Iraq threaten to "tread" on America. Instead, for the first time in U.S. history, our leaders decided to attack another nation that posed no threat to the American rattlesnake.

The clarity that Chris Matthews offers in his "Let Me Finish" segment in tribute to Robert Byrd is found in this....

"I was personally stunned, and remain in awe, that a president of George W. Bush's abilities was able to take the attack on us on 9-11 and upturn 2 plus centuries of American doctrine. Don't Tread On Me...we don't attack unless we're attacked. We are not the aggressors.


"If someone of Bush's ability can make America forget about it's most basic, most time honored standards, then imagine what a gifted demagogue could do."

Thank god...or whoever....that Republicans don't have any "gifted demagogues" on the horizon, who, once elected, would expand upon the Bush-Cheney criminal doctrine of pre-emption. Don't misunderstand, the GOP has plenty of demagogues...just not any "gifted" ones right now.

Although Ron Paul, the original modern Tea Partyer was, and still is, against the unAmerican doctrine of pre-emptive wars.....that is not true of the collective Tea Party movement. As far as I can gather, a majority of Tea Partyers support attacking other nations who they think might threaten us sometime down the road.

The Gadsden flag, the favorite of the Tea Party groups, a flag whose symbolism conveys the American policy.....we're coiled and ready to defend ourselves, so don't attack us or we'll strike back with ferocity and potency.....has been dumbed down by clueless sore losers to mean....Americans are under attack by their own government which Americans democratically elected less than 2 years ago, and if this attack continues by our democratically elected government officials, we'll have to strike back, you know, like the rattlesnake.

The Tea Party brings dishonor and shame on the very flag which it's members so proudly wave in defiance of the democratically elected Obama administration.



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