"IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, LEAVE!": The American Sniper Controversy

Both director Michael Moore and actor Seth Rogen have been publicly slammed and criticized for their recent comments regarding the new Clint Eastwood movie American Sniper. In a recent Tweet, Moore called snipers "cowards" and also later Tweeted "when we invade and kill 100,000 based on lies, we are not heroes". Moore, of course, was referring to the war in Iraq and how we invaded Iraq based on the lie that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Rogen's remarks - also made within the limited characters of a Tweet - were less incendiary but still elicited a harsh reaction from the general public. Rogen's Tweet compared American Sniper to a scene in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. In the scene, there is a movie playing in a theater that features a German sniper "heroically" killing 200 Allied soldiers. People did not appreciate Rogen's insinuation that Chris Kyle, the soldier American Sniper was based on, was no more heroic than a Nazi sniper.

In reaction to Rogen's Tweet, country music singer and military veteran Craig Morgan publicly 'slammed' Rogen, saying...

"You are fortunate to enjoy the privilege and freedom of working in and living in the United States, and saying whatever you want (regardless of how ignorant the statement) thanks to people like Chris Kyle who serve in the United States military. Your statement is inaccurate and insensitive to Chris and his family. I'm sick and tired of people like you running your mouth when you have no idea what it takes for this country to maintain our freedoms. If you and anyone like you don't like it, leave."

"If you don't like it here, leave."

The above statement has always sent an ominous shiver down my spine, but it seems to be the common response to anybody expressing any kind of criticism or dissent regarding the United States of America (I've even seen a bumper sticker with this slogan). Coming from a veteran who's preaching about his love of liberty, "If you don't like it, leave" is paradoxically one of the most fascist statements that one could ever make. This kind of a statement is not born out of a lover of freedom, but an enemy of freedom.

Instead of slamming Rogen, people like Craig Morgan should be praising Rogen for utilizing the very freedom that Morgan fought for during his time serving in the military. In fact, Morgan should love the fact that Rogen is saying something that he so vehemently disagrees with. Even if he sees the comments as dumb and ignorant, at least they are products of a mind practicing unfiltered free speech and it was for this kind of free expression that he fought as a member of the United States military. How can a person preach about fighting for liberty and at the same time turn around and shout at somebody practicing that liberty, "If you don't like it, leave!"? It's completely hypocritical.

But this type of hypocrisy is standard in our culture today.

Movies like American Sniper that celebrate "liberty" are merely propaganda disguised as art. Their main agenda is to condition Americans into loving the military and loving war and creating an environment where anybody who opposes war/military is publicly persecuted by people like Morgan for being 'enemies of freedom' who are so 'ignorant' and 'dumb' and 'unappreciative of their free country'. 

Figures like Moore and Rogen are essentially made examples of in order to create a culture of fear, fear to go against the grain and question anything war-related or military-related. Chris Kyle may or may not have been an American hero - that is all up for debate because some people say he was and other people say he wasn't. But his name and his story as featured in American Sniper (however embellished or outright fabricated it may be) are essentially being manipulated in a way so that anybody questioning the propaganda or drawing attention to it is somehow also offending and insulting true American heroism. In other words, those who question wars, express dissent, speak their mind, blow the whistle on pro-war propaganda...they are twisted into being perceived as assholes who hate true American heroes. 

And nobody wants to be THAT asshole.

Just because you're critical of war or you blow the whistle on bogus propaganda "American Hero" stories like what may (emphasis on 'may' because I don't know nor do many other people) be portrayed in American Sniper, it doesn't mean you're disrespecting the military or true American heroes. It simply means you're a person who questions things and seeks for truth. Once we manage to shut up all the truth-seekers out there - shouting at them, "if you don't like it here, leave!" - then truth eventually goes completely extinct and our culture fully transforms into a world of lies and unreality.


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