Friday, July 09, 2010

8th Grade Social Studies Teacher Says Tea Partiers Defile Gadsden Flag

Marissa A. Kristbergs, an 8th grade social studies teacher from Hamilton, has an OpEd piece in today's Asbury Park Press wherein she claims that Tea Partiers use of the "Don't Tread On Me" Gadsden Flag is "an abuse of our very sacrosanct independence as a nation."

Kristbergs gives an 8th grade level history lesson of the origins of the flag, which she says was originally a symbol of the colonies' unity against foreign tyranny, not, she says, a representation of the Constitution. She says the Tea Partiers, who stand for Constitutional government, are misusing the flag because the Constitution did not yet exist when the flag was created by Ben Franklin.

I'm not an history scholar. Neither is Kristbergs. She writes of the origins of the flag:

One day in Philadelphia, Franklin came across young American Marines being trained to seize shipments of British arms. He observed on one of the young drummer boy's drum a painting of a rattlesnake with the words "Don't Tread on Me."

Franklin soon printed an article anonymously debuting the symbol as an emblem for Americans battling British tyranny.

That might be true. Neither Kristbergs nor I were there. Neither was the author of the book where Kristbergs read about it, who then concluded what it meant.

My questions is, "What did the symbol mean to the drummer boy?" If there was a drummer boy.

Kristbergs' understanding of American history is elementary. She has no understanding of the current political environment that the Tea Parties are giving a voice.

The Tea Parties are more interested in making history than they are in the accurate historical usage of a symbol. Their use to the symbolic flag is to rally and empower individuals to assert their liberty, peacefully, against the domestic tyranny of a government that does not represent them and that is acting without regard to the Constitution.

Kristbergs says that the Gadsden flag was a symbol of our nation's independence against foreign tyranny. It may well have been.

Today the flag is a symbol of individuals committed to liberty against domestic tyranny. There is no abuse, defilement or mockery.


Ms. Kristbergs has joined the debate here at MMM. The APP used a facebook profile picture of Kristbergs in the print edition. I figured I'd do the same here.

Welcome Marissa!

Kristbergs says here in the comments that she does not brain wash her Hamiliton 8th graders. Here's what she has to say about teaching on her facebook page:

The beautiful thing about being a teacher is learning things about YOURSELF from your students.

She fits in nicely with the NJEA. It's all about her.

31 comments: said...

She says the "join or die" snake had 12 pieces representing 12 colonies, and even goes so far as to tell why Georigia wasn't represented, just to show how "smartical" she is.

The join or die flag snake had 8 parts and 11 colonies represented. In addition to Georgia, Delaware isn't on there either.

She also gets the political aesthetic of the Tea Party completely incorrect. "Constitutionalists?" Hardly.

Try 11 years earlier, sweatheart. We are originalists to the natural endowment of Freedom, declared as a self evident truth simultaneously with our Declaration of Independece.

I'm betting she's a member in good standing of the teacher's union, and the school where she teaches is free.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Art.

To think that this twit has tenure and that we'll be paying her salary for 30 years after she retires is sickening, not to mention the fact that she's indoctrinating kids with this tripe. She oughta be ashamed of herself.

MAK said...

I never said I was a history professor; however, Time publications and scholarly books are great resources for writing Op-Eds. My understanding of our political climate is not elementary, and I follow polotics well enough to know the Tea Party is a phase that will only make the Republicans lose power.

I do not quite understand the meaning of "smarticle," but I am glad you looked up the picture of the "Join or Die" Flag and counted the pieces.

Neither did I call the Tea Partiers "Consitutionalists," just that they claim to favor strict construction.

I am a proud teacher - one who will give her all despite Governor Christie's cuts. Your ignorant assumptions that I indoctrinate my students with "tripe" is funny, for that would be very unethical, and I am indeed, in good standing. My classroom is an open forum for all points of views. I encourage my students to watch the news and discuss government with their parents as well. I am not ashamed, but proud to know my students consider all sides before formulating their views.

And paying my salary after 30 years of trying to open kids minds is not sickening. What is are people who automatically resort to names such as "sweetheart" and "twit," who cannot articulate their views in a respectful manner. Whatsmore, is that if you are to throw history out of the window, please move to Texas where they are re-writing it. MAK

Anonymous said...

God Bless Governor Christie for standing up to the union that protects far left, liberal, agenda-driven revisionists like Ms. Kristerbergs.

MAK said...

Perhaps you skimmed over the part that said I don't brainwash my students, and I am not a agenda-driven revisionist. That would be Rick Perry. And if I did brainwash my students, that would be unethical, and the Union would not be able to help me there. That's why I do my job of expanding minds, not narrowing them.

Anonymous said...

"My understanding of our political climate is not elementary, and I follow polotics well enough to know the Tea Party is a phase that will only make the Republicans lose power."

Keep telling yourself that; we encourage it.

The rest of your diatribe is nothing more than the tired rambling of an even more tired philosophy. Your philosphy is dead Madam...bury it and move forward. You had your chance and have driven this Country to the brink of collapse.

Your history and logic is tortured, incorrect and belies an obvious contempt for the philosophical foundations on which this nation was founded. Sell your nonsense elsewhere.

"That's why I do my job of expanding minds, not narrowing them."

No. You lie, distort and bastardize American history to lead your students to a version thereof that suits your political affiliation, which I would wager a healthy sum lies somewhere between Barack Obama and John Corzine.

"God Bless Governor Christie for standing up to the union that protects far left, liberal, agenda-driven revisionists like Ms. Kristerbergs."

Amen, oh and one that serves nobody's interests but their own pocketbooks. The teacher's union in this State is one of the most dispicable organizations in the entire Country, who have dumbed down education for New Jersey's kids for 50 years while simultaneously protecting and encouraging such transparently agenda-driven revisionism as that exhibited by the good Ms. Kristerberg.

Your actions Madam are exhibit 'A' for the school-choice and voucher movements. Again, for shame. said...


Your actions in the comment section of the AP Press and on this website belie your assertion of being pro-discussion.

Since you are now in the business of writing "OP-Eds" let me inform you on the rules of not being a bully about it (coming from my experience of having published nearly 500 OP-Ed pieces).

You column was read by about 150,000 people in the Press today. The Press will NOT allow any of your detractors the same page space or amount of words to reply.

Your detractors are relegated to the far more obscure comment sections of websites.

For you to enter that small space and impose your view repeatedly there makes you quite the bully. Considering my circulation as a columnist, I've always let my detractors at least have the last word.

If you want to level the playing field, ask the Asbury Park Press to give me as much space as you received today to respond on behalf of the Tea Party people. That will at least level the playing field, and I'll invite you to comment all you'd like after that.

The Asbury Park Press editors have my contact info. Tell them to get in touch with me if they wish to have equal time in their paper. Tell them Tommy De Seno sent you.

If they allow me a response, I'll gladly take you to test on your wrong assertion that the Gadsden Flag hasn't been used in the past as a rallying point against economic pressure by one's own government.

I'll take you to test on whether the Tea Party focus is on the Constiution (it isn't) or the Declaration of Independence (it is).

Also, look at your comment here - that the Tea Party will detract from the Republican Party.

You're only half right. It will detract from the Democrats too.

If you pay attention to recent history(the "history lesson" you feel so qualified to impose upon the Tea Partiers) you'll know that the Tea Party has in it Republicans, Democrats and Independents, because the one unifying point is oppostion to the waste created by large governments.

You know, like having 600 school districts in a State with 535 towns.

So let's see if you are willing to meet me on equal terms in the pages of the Asbury Park Press, or if you are going to be content to remain a bully and have both the Press' large circulation and the comment section of blogs.

The next move is yours, MAK.

Anonymous said...

To add to what Tommy said - the Tea Party is STRENGTHENING the Republican Party, not weakening it. If you look at the true Republican Party platform, it is precisely what the Tea Party (and our founding fathers) stand for. Your comment about doing your job despite Christie's cuts shows your far left, union-first ideology. I suspect that you are an ultra liberal activist with an Obama/Biden sticker proudly displayed on your Audi who believes in big government redistribution of wealth and that it is your job to indoctrinate students into a certain political mindset because they are too stupid to make their own way in life so the government must do it for them. That's why you take a shot at Christie - because he's trying to stop the redistribution of my wealth into your union's grubby little hands.

Anonymous said...

Hubba hubba! We are used to seeing Democrat women who look like Andrea Dworkin and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Maybe she'll grow out of it.....

MAK said...

I'm done with your character-bashing. You do not know much about me, just my love for history and political beliefs. You leave my classroom practices and family out of this, just as I do. Any more libel and gross assumptions on your part show you have nothing better to blog about and rather misrepresent someone with views different from yours. It is unfortunate your MonmouthMusings could not contain a decent composure and operate accordingly, by reaching into someone's facebook page and then choosing the wrong picture for your misrepresentations. You've stooped to a low I teach my students to never go to. You are poor examples as mature adults.

Anonymous said...

Wow MAK - you are too thin-skinned to wade into the world of political discussion. Where did anyone bring your family into this? In fact, folks have been downright complimentary to you (see hubba hubba). Thank you also for mentioning the great Rick Perry - thanks to him, kids will be getting true American history and not the sanitized, politically correct garbage that the far left has twisted curricula into. Looking forward to November when a sea of Gadsden flags will be celebrating victories all over the country.

Anonymous said...

Friday, July 09, 2010 4:47:00 PM

You're a clown Madam. Think before you decide to write a self-serving, factually incorrect, transparently agenda-driven nonsensical op-ed next time.

You throw around terms and accusations here (libel, character-bashing) about which you clearly have no idea, much like the "history" you try and ram down kids throats. We have proven your idiotic op-ed factually incorrect and quite easily exposed you for the lockstep liberal unionite you are. For that, you accuse us of libel, which is so dumb as to not warrant a serious response.

Don't expect us to yelp like poodles at your nonsense because many of us, unlike you and your poor, misguided students, actually have taken the time to read and understand American history.

At the risk of sounding cliche' Madam, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Rock Star said...

I'm hot for teacher

Anonymous said...

by reaching into someone's Facebook page and then choosing the wrong picture for your misrepresentations

Well, that IS the only picture visible on your Facebook page. Why did YOU choose the "wrong" picture for your profile?

Art Gallagher said...

Well, that IS the only picture visible on your Facebook page. Why did YOU choose the "wrong" picture for your profile?

I originally had another photo up. Marissa said it was her sister, so I took it down and replaced it with the one you see now.

Anonymous said...

how come when I was in the 8th grade the teachers did not look like her!!!

db said...

I think this shows you how angry our tea party is wait till NOV !....You tell 'em I'm comin'... ...and Hell's coming with me, you hear! Hell's coming with me!.....

Freespeaker76 said...

When the leftists get angry, you KNOW you hit them with the Truth.

My wife, a teacher fully knows how our American History is being revised, and to borrow someone else's words, "bastardized" if it is even taught at all.

MAK, if you enter the world of opinion, be prepared to have a thick skin and accept just criticisms. Right now, you are showing just how wrong you are.

Michael Illions said...

And paying my salary after 30 years of trying to open kids minds is not sickening.

If this liberal nut has been teaching for 30 years, there is NO way that picture is of her.

Besides that, there is a strict policy that teachers should not have any part of Facebook or Myspace pages visible to the general public, especially pictures.

Anonymous said...

Where can I find a copy of this policy that prohibits teachers from having Facebook pages, particularly pages with pictures on them?

ambrosiajr said...

Stand your ground MAK. If you notice, its mostly the cowards that won't use their real name to make disparaging remarks about you. Don't let them bother you since they are nothing.

I also say the Tea Partiers are seditious and serve no purpose but to advocate violence against the rule of law. (See CWA for clarification). When a blogger calls for the dissolution of the union, they go to far. All the talk on that site is for Texas and Arizona to secede from the union because the federal government will challenge that most unjust law. That's the mindset of Tea Partiers.
Of course, they will defend themselves by telling anyone that will listen that our country is being destroyed. That socialism will be taking over our society. That our "way of life" is being destroyed. Yet, not one has been able to tell me what is different today than yesterday. We still have all of the freedoms we had yesterday, yet they will say that our freedoms have been taken away. Yet, not one can tell me what "freedom" has been removed. They are charlatans and rabble rousers, with no respect for our legally elected officials. They don't agree with the policies, so they tear our great country down with hyperbole and innuendo.
Just know, there are more people out there that feel the same way as you do then not. The tea partiers are a fad and will eventually fady away as all fringe parties do.
Keep up the good work despite what this bully has done to demonize you and your union. As you can see, the fringe listen to that megalomaniac and just parrot what he says.

Anonymous said...

Hey 5:13PM
For beginners they took God out of the classroom.
The list is very long.

Freespeaker76 said...

"ambrosiajr," Me Thinks you know nothing of what you are talking about.

Where do we begin? So many opportunities. But, to start; in an society, there are fringe groups. But, to classify the Tea Party as seditious is hyperbolic venting at it's best. To say that the Tea Party movement advocates violence against the rule of law is an outright lie, if not delusional.

to say that this is all about the seccesion of Texas and Arizona shows that you are either swallowing the Dem talking points lock, stock and barrel; or you just have no clue about what the Tea Party is about.

Have you ever been to a Tea Party meeting? Maybe you should. You might learn something. You might learn that BY FAR; most of those that are part of the movement are seniors who DO indeed know that we are worried about loosing our way of life. You would learn that the movement is made up of Democrats and Independants as well.

You talk about "not having respect for elected legislators," et; how easily you forgive the fact that our elected legislators have no respect for us; THOSE that elected them.

WE'RE TOLD by Nancy Pelosi, that "you'll know what's in the bill after we pass it; refusing to listen to the will of the majority.

The dumbfound look on Frank Pallone's face at two Town Hall Meetings says it all though. It was a constant look "what, are the voters stupid?" that shows his arrogance.

The freedoms that we are loosing? We're being told that we can't eat this, can't buy that. We are loosing financial freedom by excessive taxation & debt which is about to destroy our financial underpinnings with massive debt.

We are going to be loosing our freedoms under this massive health care bill as well.

Do we want to seceed? By all means, NO. We just want your government back. The government as envisioned by the Constitution and our Founding Fathers.So, along with the likes of MAK, please spare us your hyperbolic lectures. You indeed do NOT know what you are talking about.

Oh yeah, before I forget. I'm proud to have my name at the top of this.

Freespeaker76 said...

Meant to say,

We want our government, THE PEOPLE'S GOVERNMENT back.

TOM said...

For the REAL history of the gadsen flag, go to

I suggest this teacher did not do due diligence in her research into the actual history of the Gadsen Flag.

Not to nitpick, but perhaps she could also learn to spell .. politics, not "polotics", Constitutionalists, not "Consitutionalists".

And young lady, to lose power, one must be in power. I suggest the NJEA has finally lost the power it has had all these years.

Try a real job in the real world ... I suggest you would not last very long in private enterprise.

M. Laffey said...

Actual history is often foggy and the exact history of the Gadsen Flag may be as MAK says or it may be diifferent.

Its exact history is really irrelevant to the current use of the Flag and using its imagery to convey a message of "do not mess with me because I bite" is not clearly at odds with it's historical meaning nor is it disrepectfull in any manner.

The Tea Party is sending a message that they are a powerful political movement not to be ignored. They also claim to adhere the philosohy of the Founding Fathers with regard to the intended role of the federal government.

Wether you agree with them or not he Gadsen Flag would seem to be a very appropriate symbol for the Tea Party

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this "teacher" actually plagiarized a March 25th NPR report when they ran a segment on All Things Considered about the Gadsden Flag.

NPR had this history professor talking about why the Gadsden isn’t an appropriate symbol for the Tea Party movement. You see, in 1775 the American Revolutionaries had a legitimate grievance: they had no representation in Parliament. But today the right-wing nuts in the Tea Party movement just disagree with the representatives they elected.

hmmm... sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

Hey anon 10:57 - keep calling people who love their country and want to protect it from Obama's socialist/communist vision "right wing nuts" - we will show you the power of those you denigrate in November. Just wait.

Honest Abe said...

Interesting thread. MAK sounds like many other liberals who attempt to post on conservative blogs. She comes on, defends her point of view with an air of snarky superiority. When challenged, she then resorts to bashing those whose opinions differ from hers and asserts that she is not agenda driven. This is followed by the "I'll take my ball and go home" phase.
Not long ago you had retired reporter Kathy Baratta posting on her favorite subjects, Howell/Joe DiBella. MAK and KB sound almost like the same person.
Another journalist showed up and did the same a couple of years ago. His paper ended up folding.
And another academic, calling himself "The Big Professor", posted some very extreme views in a very snippy and elitist manner. Again, the same format.
All read as if they had been written by the same person. That's liberal talking points for you.

Anonymous said...

MAK seems to be very confused...the principles of liberty, freedom, and opposition to tyranny...the pursuit of happiness via the natural rights of man...the various treatise of government...existed long before there was a "Constitution". The Gadsden Flag is and continues to be symbolic of liberty and those who fly it are committed to the most fundamental principles of what it means to be truly American....a precursor to our Declaration of Independence, Artciles of Confederation and then the Constitution. Maybe she's just so used to the federal government bastardizing and supressing the true meaning of our God given rights that she actually believes that defending our rights as Americans is wrong. I pity her students..they need to be re-educated.

Anonymous said...

Michael Illions is talking out of his ass. There isn't a policy that prevents teachers from having Facebook pages, even Facebook pages with pictures on them.