Friday, June 10, 2011

Gadsden flag raised to protest state rail plan

On Thursday, June 9, 2011, North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey was joined by City Council Members in placing the Gadsden Flag atop the South Carolina State Flag in protest of the State’s ongoing plan to place an intermodal rail facility on the former Navy Base with northern rail access.

Mayor Summey discusses the flag on 1250 WTMA with Rocky D.

The historical flag was designed and named after American General Christopher Gadsden, a South Carolina statesman during the American Revolution.  It has a bright yellow field and a depiction of a coiled, ready to strike, rattlesnake with “DONT TREAD ON ME” text beneath.

Gadsden flag raside to protest state rail plan

Benjamin Franklin published an essay in the Pennsylvania Journal in December 1775, in which he stated of the symbolism of the snake:
She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.  As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal.
Mayor Summey explains the decision to switch the flags:
Just as with the American colonist, we are defending ourselves from a larger state, not standing idly by and allowing the quality of life of the citizens of North Charleston to be treaded upon.  The State struck first when it confiscated land on the former navy base through eminent domain and purchased other tracts with the clear intent of dishonoring previous agreements between itself and the City of North Charleston.  
Demagoguery has been used, painting the City as anti-port, anti-rail, and anti-business.  Since incorporating in 1972, North Charleston has been a staunch proponent of each.  We are home to vast and expanding port activities, location of all Lowcountry intermodal rail facilities, and the industrial and manufacturing epicenter of the State of South Carolina. 
For over two years we have shaken our rattles, but at this point we intend to strike back in court.  Our current course will only be altered if the State honors its written commitments.  We will not remain defenseless as our citizens’ rights are trampled.

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