NPR is outrageously warning that the Gadsden flag featured on new Florida license plates symbolizes a “dangerous far-right extremist ideology,” highlighting the leftist media outlet’s disdain for conservatives.
On Wednesday, NPR accused Governor Ron DeSantis of stirring controversy after he sent out a tweet for the new Florida license plate with the Gadsden flag featured on it.
The author of the NPR hit piece, Scott Neuman, asserted that despite the revered “Don’t Tread on Me” flag existing since the founding of the nation, it’s now associated with “far-right extremist ideology.” The flag was flown during the Revolutionary War as a resistance symbol.
“The imagery of the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag dates to Benjamin Franklin but has, for many, come to symbolize a far-right extremist ideology and the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement that sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election results,” Neuman asserted.
The tweet from NPR itself was telling: “Gov. Ron DeSantis said a new Florida license plate featuring the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag sends a ‘clear message to out-of-state cars.’ Critics say it symbolizes a dangerous far-right extremist ideology.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis said a new Florida license plate featuring the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag sends a "clear message to out-of-state cars." Critics say it symbolizes a dangerous far-right extremist ideology.https://t.co/7rU6zTwj9p
— NPR (@NPR) August 11, 2022
DeSantis has long used the Gadsden flag as a symbol of Florida’s freedom. He tweeted out the image on July 30 with a call for pre-orders for the plates while announcing that the proceeds would go to the Florida Veterans Foundation.
“The free state of Florida has a new license plate for pre-order that benefits the Florida Veterans Foundation and sends a clear message to out-of-state cars, ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ or Florida,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter.
He tweeted a Florida-inspired version of the Gadsden flag in 2021 after calling for a special session to ban vaccine mandates as well.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 30, 2022
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 21, 2021
Neuman quoted leftist detractors of the flag such as Rachel Carroll Rivas, who is the deputy director of research and analysis for the Intelligence Project at the conservative-hating Southern Poverty Law Center.
“She says it’s become clear that the flag has been used for some ‘really awful’ causes, most notably the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, where violent protesters attacked police as part of an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election,” Neuman stated.
Contradicting the premise of his own piece on the Gadsden flag, Neuman admitted that the flag and the motto are both considered protected speech under the First Amendment, regardless of who uses them. However, he made it abundantly clear he does not agree with that form of free speech.
Freedom is “far right” now. Wild stuff https://t.co/jclZ6m0Jcb
— Rebeccah Heinrichs (@RLHeinrichs) August 11, 2022
“Extreme or not, First Amendment scholars such as Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law say the Gadsden flag and the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ motto are legitimate — and protected — speech, whether they are on a flag waving inside the besieged U.S. Capitol or on a vehicle license plate heading down a Florida highway,” he sarcastically noted.
Florida is not the only state to use the political message on a license plate. Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia have “similar plates” available.
Kansas approved the Gadsden flag on its state license plates just weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. NPR was quick to point out that Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, vetoed the design before the Republican legislature overruled her.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate,” Kansas Senate minority leader Dinah Sykes commented. “When I see that, whether it’s a flag or a license plate … it’s not a good feeling for me.”
they refer to our history as dangerous far right extremism
a brain slug is taking over our country https://t.co/CWH7hh1124
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) August 11, 2022
Last week, Newsweek also alluded to the flag being racist, “Much like the Confederate flag, the Gadsden flag is accused of harboring racial connotations, seeing as its designer owned and traded black slaves.”
A spokesperson for DeSantis schooled Newsweek, “From a historical perspective, the Gadsden flag was used during the American Revolution by colonists fighting for freedom from the oppressive big government of the English king. That spirit has guided America to this day, and Governor DeSantis likewise believes that freedom is a worthy pursuit and viable alternative to heavy-handed government.”
“Many Floridians celebrate Florida as the vanguard of freedom, and countless others have moved here from across the country to live under a state government that enshrines freedom in its decision making,” the spokesperson pointed out.
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