What better way to celebrate Independence Day than by claiming that being a patriot for your country is problematic?
Associated Press News published an article on July 4 saying that the word “patriot” has become “problematic” in recent years, arguing that extremist groups have appropriated the term to hide racist beliefs.
“The term ‘patriot’ in America has become infused in political rhetoric and school curriculums, with varying meanings, while also being appropriated by white nationalist groups,” AP says in a tweet promoting the article.
The article goes on to argue that the meaning of the word patriot has changed over the years and that it has morphed into a buzzword for right-wing “extremists.”
By citing statistics from the radical, far-left Southern Poverty Law Center, the article claims that, since the Obama administration, right-wing groups have used the word “patriot” to fight against LGBTQ rights and immigration, saying conservative leaders such as President Donald Trump have co-opted the word by calling his supporters patriots:
“Since then, many right-wing groups have called themselves ‘patriots,' as they’ve fought election processes, LGBTQ+ rights, vaccines, immigration, diversity programs in schools and more. Former President Donald Trump frequently refers to his supporters as “patriots.’”
Thus, the article conflates conservative values, such as border security and traditional views of sex, with extremism and racism. It goes on to claim that patriotism today is associated with “conspiracy theories” and violence.
Louisiana State University historian Gaines Foster says in the article that “people began to lean less toward a commitment to democracy and more to the notion in the Declaration of Independence that there is a ‘right of revolt,’ and that becomes patriotism,” citing the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, as an example.
Many on Twitter were suspicious of the timing of the article, since it was released on Independence Day.
“AP can’t even take a break from dividing Americans on Independence Day. Pathetic.” one user replied.
“There is still time to delete your post and say something appropriate for the holiday.” another user wrote.