Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

America's patriotism causes double-standard

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines patriotism as “cultural attachment to one’s homeland or devotion to one’s country.” So there shouldn’t have been anything wrong when Holly Fisher of West Virginia posted a photo of herself to Twitter where she is displaying the love she has for her country. Standing before an American flag, she held a large gun in one hand and a Bible in the other.
Since she posted this picture, however, she is now being taunted and referred to as the leader of the “American Taliban” or the “Jihad Barbie.”
This began when Twitter users noticed an eerie similarity to a photo of another young women named Sherafiyah Lewthwaite, also showing her patriotism. Lewthwaite is a member of the Al-Shabaab Islamic militant group, according to the International Business Times. She has a lethal reputation as an international terrorist, known by most as the “White Widow.”
Standing before her country’s flag, she holds a large gun in one hand and a Quran in the other.
In America, we value patriotism. We take pride in the fact the we are Americans, and we make this clear through displays such as Fisher’s photo. So why is she getting so much negative backlash after the comparison to Lewthwaite?
Lewthwaite’s terrorist group has been directly linked to al-Qaeda, which automatically makes them enemies of the United States. This explains the “American Taliban” nickname, but there is a much bigger issue behind the comparison.
In Lewthwaite’s homeland, she is hailed as a patriotic young woman who would proudly do anything for the love of her country and the Quran.
The American ideal of patriotism has become a glaring double standard in our culture. To Fisher’s supporters, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her photograph.
To Lewthwaite’s supporters, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her photograph, either.
The comparison accurately shows how these women are the same, despite being on opposing sides of a devastating hatred between countries. Bullying and taunting her on the internet is no way to go about the situation, however. Whether you disagree with Fisher or not, it is both immature and inconsequential.
To put it into a better perspective for those who still may not understand the comparison, we must look at extreme displays of patriotism in our country.
A good example would be the recent release of the film “American Sniper.” This movie was very well done, and theaters across America were sold out with eager viewers. It follows the true story of Chris Kyle, who was a Navy Seal and sniper who served four tours in the Iraq war. He was a loving Christian man with a family that was dear to him, and he just so happened to be the most lethal sniper in US military history.
He is being hailed as a hero for his 160 confirmed kills of American enemies.
Did most viewers stop and think about the fact that those enemies were more than just that? They were loving Muslims with families that were dear to them, and they just so happened to be enemies of America. They were fighting for their country, just as Kyle was fighting for his.
We view these men and women as savages who have it out for America for, so it seems, no discernible reason. They fight for their own cause, however; just because their cause rivals our own does not mean they are evil and wicked people. They fight for a cause just as we do. At the risk of sounding cliché, we are all just humans who live, love and learn.
These are the things we must remember before we ignorantly decide who are our enemies.

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America's patriotism causes double-standard