Q: What is the Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flag?
A. (1775): A banner designed by Continental Col. Christopher Gadsden, using colonial rattlesnake imagery popularized by Benjamin Franklin, that accompanied the first-ever mission of the nascent U.S. Navy.
A. (2004): A common sight at anti-Iraq War protests.
A. (2009): According to law enforcement officials, "the most common symbol displayed by militia members and organizations," possibly indicative of "terrorist or criminal operations."
A. (2009): According to anti-Tea Party commentators, a historical indicator of white resentment against blacks.
A. (2013): According to the mayor and the city council of New Rochelle, New York, a symbol so "offensive," so drenched with "right-wing connotations," that it must immediately be taken down from the New Rochelle Armory.
A. (February 2014): According to David Tinney, vice president of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, the equivalent of the Confederate flag, and therefore reason to (successfully) agitate to remove it from a New Haven fire department's flagpole.
A. (March 2014): According to Democratic strategist and daughter-of-the-House-minority-leader Christine Pelosi, a symbol to be re-appropriated in the service of defending the heavy-treading Affordable Care Act:
As ever, the richest symbolism is often in the eye of the beholder.