by Erik Ritland
Rambling On is a seriously fun blog and podcast covering sports, music, culture, and more. Check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s film about fallen Iraq veteran Chris Kyle, grossed over 100 million dollars in its first weekend. The movie has divided the misguided into two categories: ultra “patriotic” right wingers who pedestalize Kyle as a perfect hero and leftists who claim that he is a coward and that Sniper is nothing more than a piece of pro-war propaganda. As always, they’re both wrong.
Those on the right are correct to call Kyle a hero, but he’s certainly not the idealized version that American Sniper presents or that they idealize. A cursory look into his biography proves that he isn’t a saint. He had many personal issues. He often lied to perpetuate his macho persona. His personality, while often warm, was more often abrasive.
Leftists, on the other hand, ignore all that he sacrificed and the danger he put himself in. Far from a coward, Kyle put his life in danger almost every day he was overseas. He sacrificed everything, including his sanity and ultimately his life, for a righteous cause. Whether or not the war in Iraq was justified, the people he was killing over there were murdering innocent people. Their elimination saved hundreds of lives.
Just as the right allows their patriotism to distort their view of reality, so the left lets their anti-war belief do the same thing. The truth, as always, is found outside of that paradigm.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.