Kansas lawmakers considering offering ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ license plates

The Gadsden flag, currently associated with libertarians and the Tea Party movement, may be added to Kansas license plates. More than 30 representatives are backing that the flag's "Don't Tread on Me" sentiments should be represented on the license plates of Kansas motorists, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Other license plate designs include a Special Olympics plate and a “Choose Life” plate.

While Republicans, like state Rep. Blake Carpenter, claim that the plate isn’t meant to be associated with the Tea Party, I’m having a hard time seeing how that is actually the case. Like those who oppose removing the Confederate Flag from public spaces in the South, Carpenter claims “historical context” as the basis of use, instead of the current associations the “Don’t Tread on Me” rattlesnake has with certain right-wing movements.

This seems to be yet another move by those on the right to attempt to intimidate others by prominently displaying beliefs that could be interpreted as problematic. Frankly, I’m not sure as to how one can separate this symbol from libertarian ideals or the Tea Party movement.

It also appears to be yet another example of representatives who are tone-deaf. If Carpenter genuinely believes that the plate won’t be associated with right-wing politics, he’s just as sadly mistaken as he was when he claimed that the “Choose Life” plate will appeal to pro-choice as well as pro-life constituents. How does one become so out of touch with the people that he or she represents? Either Carpenter doesn’t realize that “Choose Life” could be incredibly hurtful to a mother in the process of having a miscarriage or a woman who is carrying a baby who has a genetic makeup that is not compatible with life once outside of the womb and she is faced with a really painful decision concerning a very wanted pregnancy after years of infertility, or he just doesn’t care. After all, I chose life — five times — but I only have four children.

There’s another facet of politically (and perhaps embedded religion in one case) charged license plates in 2018 that I’m not sure has been considered. People are angry. Children are dying in schools from gun violence and mass shootings. People are finding less and less in their savings accounts — if they even ever had such accounts to begin with. There are some serious problems with food insecurity in Kansas. Advertising that one stands with the “Don’t Tread on Me” philosophy seems as though it puts the personal property that advertisement is on into jeopardy costing communities even more in taxpayer dollars for investigations.

Not only are the “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Choose Life” license plate options tone deaf and offensive, but they are also costly. I’m sure that the Kansas legislature can come up with other options for custom license plates that aren’t so problematic.

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