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Stick to policies, poise when judging politicians’ ‘American-ness’

I’ve been told I wasn’t American if I didn’t enjoy every fattening morsel of a Big Mac, but it wasn’t until the 2012 election season began that I found out being rich and disagreeing with a few government actions was even less American. In an age that is all about political correctness, it is strange that we are even looking for the candidate that best represents the “real” America, and, above all, a metric unit of American-ness.

Of course, the origination of what I’d like to call the AMU (American-ness Measurement Unit) came about in 2008, when Sarah Palin and John McCain proclaimed their belief that the “best of America” is in the small towns, the areas where people are the most “hardworking,” “patriotic” and “pro-America” in the nation. This notion still seems to be a relevant measurement of a presidential candidate’s ability to obtain votes, and thus creates the AMU flow chart of exactly two criteria to be considered really American: your money and your support of this country.

At the top of the AMU flow chart is a candidate’s wealth and his method of obtaining of it. I think we can agree that the presidential candidates have quite a bit of money, considering running for president isn’t cheap. However, there seems to be a huge discrepancy in the likability of a person who personally worked for his fortune and a person who happened to be born into old money. Mitt Romney is rich due to generations of existing wealth — minus 20 AMUs; Rick Santorum’s father was a coal miner and worked for his family’s prosperity — five AMUs for you!

However, I think we can all agree that the American Dream earns 100 AMUs — American-ness at its finest. Is it not the American Dream to work hard to become prosperous? Is it not the American Dream to maintain prosperity for the benefit of future generations? Just because some of the candidates did not produce their family’s golden ticket to wealth does not make them any less hardworking than a factory worker in small-town Alabama. In fact, it takes just as much work to maintain wealth as to obtain it.

Once the media analyzes the finances and deems the candidate at least somewhat “American,” the AMU flow chart then needs to stick either the prefix “pro-” or “anti-” in front of the confirmed nationality. Loosely, the term “pro-America” is given to those who support America and all its policies at almost any given time, and the designation is usually reserved for the people who still role play the American Revolution. On the other hand, “anti-America” is for those who hold any opposition or hostility of the current state of America, and it is usually a condition loosely diagnosed just as often as ADHD for 7-year-olds.

In my mind, it is highly unproductive to be labeling any of the presidential candidates “anti-America.” Yes, it is clear that most of these people do not like the government’s current operation, but isn’t that the very reason to involve yourself in the government? At the root of every politician’s policy (good or bad) are good intentions to fix a problem in the way they best see fit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there really are anti-Americans trying to sabotage the country, but running for president seems to be the most pro-America thing to do. Plus 40 AMUs!

Although a candidate’s AMU count seems to be the best measurement of presidential qualification, I feel we are looking at the wrong things. Achieving the American Dream should not be synonymous with a membership into the unrelatable 1 percent, and honestly, if anyone has yet to make a grandiose effort to leave this country in this current economic time, they are pretty pro-America. All in all, we should continue to observe our candidates’ poise, policies and production rather than question their love for flag pins and greasy cheeseburgers.

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