February 28, 2011

Don't Tread on Me™

Having stirred the anger of labor and the working class, it’s fascinating how the battle in Wisconsin is also shaking up the protest symbolism. I’m probably going to spend a couple posts on this. The scene above, however, caused me to do a double take. Assuming the caption is correct –that  this guy is aligned with the protesters inside the Wisconsin State Capitol building — what we see here is “a progressive soldier” marching outside the State House with the Tea Party’s single most identifying symbol (123), the Gadsten flag.

Of course, with the Governor manipulating the office in a phyrrhic battle to undermine the government and public employees, it makes perfect sense to steal away the symbol and flip the anti-government message of “get off our backs.”  Like a game of, well, capture the flag, though, the most muscular thing going on here is the application of what’s been “the Tea Party’s symbol” to expose the destructiveness of their philosophy.

Only now, with progressives taking to the streets with new force and incentive, is it becoming clear just how much conservatives and the Tea Party (as the bright shiny object of the day) has dominated the “protest stage” over the past few years.

(photo:Darren Hauck/Reuters. caption: A man marches with a “don’t tread on me” flag outside the State Capitol building as they wait to occupy it during day fourteen of their protest against the proposed budget cuts by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in Madison, Wisconsin February 28, 2011. Wisconsin Governor Walker, whose bid to reduce public employee union bargaining power has triggered public protests, said on Sunday he expected Democrats who oppose his plan to return to the state and debate the issue this week.)

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Michael Shaw
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