I was born in America, to parents who are American citizens. I have lived in America all my life, attended American schools, and worked in America. I have a social security number. I pay my taxes. (No, I don't help my landlady carry out her garbage.)
To the untrained eye, I would appear to be an American. After all, "American" is simply a descriptor of national origin and citizenship - I'm from America so I'm an American, just like someone from Russia is a Russian. Right?
As I've mentioned before, I listen to conservative talk radio a lot, just to get angry or annoyed, and as a result of listening to Sean Hannity and his ilk, I know that the above postulation is dead wrong.
According to these braintrusts, "American" is not simply someone who hails from the United States. Sure, that's how a lexicon might define it, but real Americans know that it is a title, one bestowed upon those who have earned it. Being from America isn't enough to be an American. To really be an American - to be deserving of the title - you must fall in step with the status quo of right-wing idealogy.
For your benefit, I present to you a brief list of things you must believe in order to be an American. The list is not all-inclusive, but will give you some valuable starting points.
1. We are at war.
Everyone knows that America has declared war on "terror". It is a fact that we will win; that one day, terror will sign a surrender or cease-fire agreement, or we will cripple terror's logistical train to the point where terror cannot continue fighting us.
2. The president requires our support during this war.
As noted above, we are at war and therefore "in a time of crisis". Anyone who disputes President Bush's decisions, or those of his cabinet, is an unpatriotic moron who is one small step away from outright treason. This is because
3. President Bush is our leader.
You may have thought that the president of the United States is essentially an administrator, which is why he is the head of the executive branch. But true Americans know that this is a liberal lie. The role of the president is to be our leader, like the serfs in feudal England pronouncing fealty to the King. His job is to lead, and our job is to follow unquestioningly.
Some liberals will tell you that the role of the president is to conduct the affairs of the country according to the electorate, but this is simply an outrageous falsehood. Bill Clinton, after all, was a "poll follower", which means he discovered what the people wanted and then executed those wishes. No real leader would bow to the whim of others - he must act completely autonomously and without consideration for the petty demands of the nation's people. Speaking of which...
4. Anything wrong with America today is Clinton's fault.
Yes, he's been out of office for over three years now. Yes, he presided over an incredible economic boom, a period of incredibly low unemployment and interest rates, low crime levels, and no conflicts with other governments for the first time in decades, but the fact remains that Clinton lied about his private sexual affairs and that makes him an untrustworthy, unholy demon who nearly brought about the collapse of modern western civilization single-handedly. The attack on the World Trade Center is probably his fault too.
Liberals may try to tell you that Bush lied about more important things, like weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, national security documents, and so forth. Just remember rules 2 and 3 and you'll be safe from this kind of slander.
5. Anything right with America today can be attributed to Reagan or Bush.
Forget the horrid economic downturn of Reagan's fiscal policy. Put to rest any concerns of Bush's erosion of civil rights. Reagan, after all, won the Cold War.. er, somehow. He took a hard-line stance against drugs and now there's no drugs anywhere. And Bush, as noted above, is our leader. Interestingly, all the good things mentioned in rule 4, are a direct result of Reagan and Bush Sr. Clinton just happened to be in office by the time the events finally gained enough momentum to be noticable, but his administration certainly was not responsible for any of it.
6. There is no middle ground.
A true American is convervative. By definition, everyone else is a liberal. Absolutely everything must be polarized into one of these two camps. Any person, thought, utterance, or action can easily be classified in this way, and if the classification is "liberal" you can simply dismiss the issue out of hand as being the raging paranoia or falsehoods of lesser life forms. There is no middle ground whatsoever in this classification scheme - it is a black-and-white situation, as well it should be.
7. During this war, civil liberties are a secondary concern. If that.
Now, nobody likes to be detained without charges for an indefinite period of time, and nobody likes the idea of police that can search your possessions or wiretap your phone without a warrant or even a good reason. But these things, and many more, are utterly vital to the War On Terror. The fact is, in order to win this war, you're going to have to say goodbye to your beloved Bill of Rights, and if you have a problem with that, then why don't you move to China, you America-hating Communist?
8. This is a Christian nation.
Teaching kids about evolution is wrong and potentially evil. Always remember that it's "just a theory", and there's no evidence for it. It demeans what we know to be true: God created us in his image. God blesses us daily. God is blessing the United States and with God's help we'll conquer terror once and for all. To suggest that species change over time is an outrage, and to be fair, we need to teach kids about Genesis alongside evolution, or preferably, in place of it.
It's no secret that there wasn't much gun violence in schools until the Supreme Court - then composed of liberal whiners - decided that forcing students to pray was unconstitutional. There were also no nuclear weapons before women were allowed to vote, but that's another issue entirely. The point is that, for the safety and well-being of our children, those treasures of America, students must be instilled with God-fearing Christian values.
People in need of help from drug or alcohol addiction, depression, or any other malady, should seek help in (tax-funded) faith-based programs, which can do a better job than secular professionals, who will fail to tell the sinners about God's divine wrath. Medicine and therapy are not the answer - white-knuckled fear of eternal torment, and being told what a disappointment they are to God, is the only salvation for these lost individuals.
We all know that terrorists and Muslims are the biggest threat to America today, but second only to them are the atheists, who should not even be considered citizens, much less American patriots. Our founding fathers and other famous Americans were Christian and the Constitutional idea of seperating church and state has been grossly exaggerated and is not to be taken seriously.
9. Small government is good. Or large. Whatever.
Every schoolchild knows that the powers of the government were, as outlined by the Constitution in general and amendments 9 and 10 specifically, to be strictly limited in scope. True Americans (conservatives, Republicans) agree - the government is too large, its powers too broad, and it needs to be curtailed. This line of thinking, however, will never deter us from constantly expanding the powers of government and creating endless numbers of bloated and ridiculous new beauracracies, especially during this time of crisis when the government needs to watch every move a citizen makes (even the atheists, who aren't citizens) in order to combat terror.
These tips, adages, and maxims should help get you started on the road to being a true American. The difference lies in the field of civic virtue. A true American accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic, of which he is a member, defending it, if need be, with his life and liberty. The mere American does not.