Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I had some errands to run after work that required me to go home via Westport. On my way south on Main, I saw the beginnings of Kansas City's Tax-Day #Teaparty. I don't completely grasp what the deal is with this "Tea Party" business.

I do know that despite what they say about being a non-partisan grassroots movement, it is unsurprisingly heavy on conservative participants. It's strange to see conservatives protest with this kind of turn-out. Usually, you only get this kind of sign-holding crowd with people decrying the war, fighting for gay rights and civil liberties. Sure, a few conservative extremists might picket abortion clinics, but I'm talking about hundreds of protesters, perhaps even a thousand. I've never seen anything like this from a conservative group.

Anyhow, here's the photos from near the Liberty Memorial.

The current Flag of the United States of America is a complex one with no official meaning to its symbols other than one star for each state in the union. While it tugs at the heart-strings of America, its meaning is open to interpretation.

Unless you're a history buff, you've probably never seen or heard of the Gadsden Flag until recently, when it started regaining popularity. There's not much left to interpret. It's a freaking rattlesnake ready to strike, with the words "DONT TREAD ON ME" [sic] written on it. It was one of the earliest flags from our history. It was blunt and to the point. It still is.

It's hard to tell from these photos (some of which were taken at the limit of my point-and-shoot camera's digital zoom) but there are also droves of protesters on the memorial structure in the background.

Time to reel this back into bicycling, though.

I have never ridden home from Westport before. That was interesting. I ended up taking Westport Road out to Mission Road, taking that more or less all the way to Tomahawk, then back through old-town Overland Park as if I were coming back from the usual Monday night ride.

I had one interesting moment on Shawnee Mission Parkway (which I had to use as a detour for a short section of Mission road) where I found a kid on a 49cc Honda scooter attempting to race me. While I'm certain his top speed would have bested my own, I had the jump on him when it came to accelerating. I haven't hit 37 MPH on my bike (without the help of a serious downhill) in months. It felt good to sprint for a bit.

All in all, the day's errands added a mere two miles to my homeward. I also learned about a few stretches of bike-friendly road... and a few dicey sections that I am not quite sure I want to ride on in evening rush-hour again.


Bryan said...

Our current flag does have more meaning than just 50 stars representing each of the states. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies while the color red symbolizes hardiness & valor, white symbolizes purity & innocence, and blue symbolizes vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Since 31 May 2002, the US Navy has been using the Culpepper Flag in place of the typical Jack on all ships. It's a variation of the Gadsden Flag but has 13 red and white stripes with a rattle snake on it. It has the words "Don't Tread On Me" on it as well.

Noah said...

I couldn't find anywhere that said there was any official meaning. Sure, we know what red, white and blue "stand for" - As it's been passed down through the generations. The US Code specifies all kinds of things about the flag and how it should be represented, but doesn't define what the symbols mean. It is, indeed, open to interpretation.

I'm also familiar with the Culpepper flag variant.

I wasn't so much arguing that the current flag is somehow lacking, but I can say that if one sees the Gadsden flag, there's no hidden meaning in its symbolism. It's pretty blatant.

Bryan said...

My bad. Didn't realize you said "official" meaning. Guess I need to read a little closer next time.

I wasn't trying to start any kind of political argument over the flags either. I just tend to pay extra attention to what's said since I served in the military for so long.

Miguel said...

The tea party organizers are:

FreedomWorks, the conservative action group led by Dick Armey; dontGO, a tech savvy free-market action group that sprung out of last August's oil-drilling debate in the House of Representatives;
and Americans for Prosperity, an issue advocacy/activist group based on free market principles. Conservative bloggers, talk show hosts, and other media figures have attached themselves to the movement in peripheral capacities

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