posted 09-09-2002 11:36 AM PT (US)
The following is a letter read by Claire Braz-Valentine, the Author, at
this year's In Celebration of the Muse, Cabrillo College. It is worth
knowing that the author is a woman of 60+ years, conservatively dressed
and obviously quite talented.
AN OPEN LETTER TO JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES
On January 28, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he
spent $8,000 of taxpayer's money for drapes to cover up the exposed breast
of The Spirit of Justice, an 18 ft aluminum statue of a woman that stands
in The Department of Justice's Hall of Justice.
John, John, John, you've got your priorities all wrong. While men fly
airplanes into skyscrapers, dive bomb the Pentagon, while they stick
explosives into their shoes, and then book a seat right next to us, while
they hide knives in their luggage, steal kids on school buses, take little
girls from their beds at night, drive trucks into our state capital
buildings, while our president calls dangerous men all over the world
evildoers and devils, while we live in the threat of biological warfare,
nuclear destruction, annihilation, you are out buying yardage to save
Americans from the appalling alarming, abominable aluminum alloy of evil,
that terrible ten foot tin tittie. You might not be able to find Bin
Laden, but you sure as hell found the hooter in the hall of justice.
It's not that we aren't grateful. But while we were begging the women
of Afghanistan to not cover up their faces, you are begging your staff
members to just cover up that nipple, to save the American people from
that monstrous metal mammary. How can we ever thank you?
So, in your office every morning, in your secret prayer meeting, while
an American woman is sexually assaulted every 6 seconds, while anthrax floats
around the post office and settles in the chest of senior citizens, you've
got another chest on your mind. While American sons arrive home in body
bags and heat seeking missiles fly around a foreign country looking for
any warm body, you think of another body. And you pray for the biggest bra
in the world. John, you see that breast on the Spirit of Justice in the
spirit of your own inhibited sexuality. And when we women see our
grandmothers, our mothers, our daughters, our granddaughters, our sisters,
ourselves, when we women see that statue,
In the Spirit of Justice, we see the spirit of strength, the spirit of
survival. Every day we view innocent bodies dragged out of rubble, and
women and children laid out like thin limp dolls and baptized into death
as collateral damage, and we see the hollow-eyed Afghani mother whose milk
has dried up underneath her burka in famine, in shame, and her children
are dead at her breast.
While you look at that breast, John, that jug on the Spirit of Justice,
and deal with your thoughts of lust and sex and nakedness, we see it as a
testimony to motherhood. You see it as a tit.
It's not the money it cost. It's the message you send. We've got the
right to live in freedom. We've got the right to cheat Americans out of millions
of dollars and then just not want to tell congress about it. We've got the
right to drop bombs, night and day, on a small country that has no army,
no navy, no military at all, because we've got the right to bear arms. But
we just better not even think about the right to bare breasts.
So now John, you can be photographed while you stand there and talk
about guns and bombs and poisons without that breast appearing over your right
shoulder, without that bodacious bosom bothering you and we just wanted to
tell you in the spirit of justice, in the spirit of truth, John, there is
still one very big boob left standing there in that picture.