This whole "one-of-us" thing is bugging me. I've been in advertising for over 30 years, have conducted countless focus groups, consumer research and such. There is some common ground between like-minded people. But even in those instances there are still differences.
Multi-millionaire Rick Santorum is "one-of-us" because his grandfather worked in a coal mine. My grandfather worked on the railroad and lost a leg in a train accident. Where do I sign up for the next debate?
Mitt Romney has more money than all you reading this combined but he'd rather be one-of-us. Mitt could suck cheese grits through a straw for 50 years and never be one-of-us.
Newt Gingrich must think "one-of-us" means being censured and fined by your colleagues for violating rules, committing serial adultery, and having a running charge account at Tiffany's.
That isn't me? Is it you? Obviously the point their trying to make is they can "relate to us." Asonce said, "they can feel our pain." Researchers and media-types have whipped up a demographic/sociographic profile of "one-of-us," and the candidates apparently assume it fits "all-of-us." If any of these candidates can feel my pain, then they must be worrying about making their rent payment next week, too. But, somehow, I don't think that's the case.
But that's okay. They're polticians. They're supposed to get bad advice, accept it and proceed accordingly. The real tragedy is, millions of Americans are trying to fit into the demo politicians create of us. No offense but I don't want to be you. Hopefully, you don't want to be me (no offense taken). I want you to be you and if you want to vote for me, I want it to be because of who I really am not because grandad lost a leg when the coal car ran over it. They warned him Jack Daniels and box cars don't mix.
I have no idea who any of these candidates really are. I know they're wealthy but that's okay. Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, heck, every president in my lifetime's been wealthier than me and most of "us." I could care less. But I know they're not one-of-us. Wby? Because the whole concept of being an American is individualism. Some of us came from Europe, some Asia, some South America and the Middle East. I'm convinced some Americans I've meet simply fell from the sky. We are Christian, Jew, Islamic and Buddhists. There are those among us who worship bags of Fiddle Faddle. Some believe in Bigfoot, others UFOs; I remain convinced Elvis is slinging hash at a diner in Reno.
Americans take pride in who they are and what makes them different. We have three men running for President of the United States of America. If they were running for President of North Korea, I could see their point. Everyone dresses the same, thinks the same, works on the same schedule and thinks the same (or else). Being one-of-us in North Korea is a piece of tofu. But here? I don't think so. Roosevelt never denied himself or tried to pretend he was anyone but FDR. The same with Kennedy and Reagan or even Bill Clinton and both Bushes. You may not like some and like others, which is precisely the point. You accepted them, or not, for who they really were not for who they were pretending to be.
Try as they might, the candidates can never be one-of-us because one-of-us simply does not exist.
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