Florida issues new license plate design featuring symbol beloved by far-right fanatics (and it's not the American flag)

The iconic "Don't Tread On Me" flag, aka the Gadsden flag, originated during the American Revolution in 1775 as a statement against British rule. Over the years though, it became popular among libertarians, the American Tea Party movement, and most-recently, far right groups. It was seen all over the news during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Now, Florida is the latest state to offer the flag as a graphic on license plates. While funds from sale of the plates will benefit the Florida Veterans Foundation, many question the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's motivation to issue the plate design now. From WFLA:

DeSantis meanwhile has claimed on Twitter that the plate is intended to send a clear message to out-of-state cars, "'Don't Tread on Me' or Florida."[…]

DeSantis has repeatedly painted Florida as a safe haven for freedom and minimal government intervention — a message originally conveyed in the flag's design.

But not everyone agreed with the governor's promotional tweet.

One user said, "Stop calling us the free state of Florida, if that were true I'd be able to do my job as a teacher and create a safe space for all kids," referring to the governor's Parental Rights in Education law.

Another user said, "what's next the Confederate Flag? Plenty of other symbols can be used to benefit Veterans."

For more on the history and significance of the Gadsden flag, read this excellent New Yorker feature by Boing Boing pal Rob Walker: "The Shifting Symbolism of the Gadsden Flag"