March 14, 2003

Freedom Fries

Fredom Fry Martyrdom

I had one of my long, egocentric daydreams yesterday. As usual, it combined poignant self-sacrifice with It's a Wonderful Life redemption. It opens with President Bush addressing the nation. He's addressing the nation because I've been attacked. I couldn't decide whether to kill myself off or if the fantasy would work if I lived. I've been attacked because I decried in my blog the decision of the House of Representatives cafeteria to adopt the "freedom fries" and "freedom toast" rhetoric.

I'd written that what had been a childishly jingoistic publicity stunt on the part of a few opportunistic restaurant owners smacked of an ugly Americanism crossed with McCarthyism when espoused by the powerful. My attacker has exacted poetic justice by delivering a coup de grace with a magnum of Dom Perignon.

In my fantasy, President Bush raises a troubled brow to the nation. "Good evening, my fellow Americans," he begins. "This is a sorrowful occasion for our country. A woman who was exercising her Constitutional right to free speech has been attacked by a fellow American. Now, I understand that this woman did not agree with much of this administration's policy. In short, she was a rabidly anti-freedom-fry left-wing nut. But even sadly misguided Americans love their country. Reasonable people can disagree on how best to handle the very complex issues now facing our nation, but we here in the United States do not punish and repress dissent. Perhaps this hasn't been very clear lately.

I am saddened by the loss (wow I guess I do have to die for the fantasy to work) of one passionate  American at the hands of an equally passionate, larger, and less mentally stable patriot. I urge that, as events gather force and steamroll right over you, everyone take the time to count to ten before engaging in strenuous exercises of free speech.

To lower the domestic collateral damage of the war I most emphatically have not yet decided to wage, I have instructed the Longworth Office Building cafeteria to change their menu to reflect our tolerance for all points of view by serving "potato fries" and "yummy egg toast."

Now, a little French bashing is good clean fun. It was amusing when those guys smashed that Peugeot with bats. But the recent crucifixion of several French poodles doused in Chanel No. 5 perfume was a bit disturbing, frankly.

I have instructed the FBI to immediately suspend "Operation Froghugger." We will not be spending several hundred million dollars to investigate American citizens who have recently rented "Last Tango in Paris" or "Green Card." You will no longer have to hide your Gerard Depardieu videos in those "Armageddon" boxes they've been selling on e-bay. And we're going to remove the covering over the masterpiece "Guernica" by the great French painter Pablo Picasso.

But wait! There's more! I have also instructed my minions to pay our back dues to the UN. We will sign the Kyoto treaty and join in the International Criminal Court. I'm diverting funds for the development of the "Star Wars" missile defense shield to Social Security and Medicaid. We'll be looking into unilateral reduction of our seriously overkill nuclear stockpiles. We're going to go along with a version of that Canadian plan giving until the end of March and verifiable, graduated benchmarks for Iraq's disarmament, and the Security Council is gonna all pitch in with making this work without war.

In fact, we're canceling our order for those 500,000 "War is Peace" bumper stickers. People might get confused. From now on, only peace will be peace.

And earlier tonight, I called up Kim Jong Il. "People who differ need to talk," I told him. "We need to talk." I suggested that we get together for an hour of gentle yoga and guided authentic movement. We'll be breathing together, trying to attune our energies, and expressing our respective frustration, rage, and longing for world domination in sweeping arm gestures, vigorous jumps, and spiraling dives to the floor. I urge all citizens to reach out to your estranged neighbors, to your black-sheep relatives, and to those with whom you have profound differences of political and culinary opinion. We are all going to take a day off from war without end. We are going to have a day of healing. Good night, and God Bless America."