Note: I need to do some major work on this node. I was recently informed that the letter cited here was actually conceived and delivered as a poem, and that my source was obviously a bastardized version of the original work. I am seeking out the correct format and will edit this as soon as I can.
The following letter was read by the author (Claire Braz-Valentine) at this year's In Celebration of the Muse, Cabrillo College (and then forwarded to me by a friend). Note: Just because I'm noding it does not necessarily mean that I am entirely aligned with the author's perspective. I merely found it interesting.
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 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, because 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, the spirit of justice, we see the spirit of strength, the spirit of survival While 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 the hollow eyed Afghani mother's 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. And 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 the 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.
I will be adding biographical material on Claire Braz-Valentine as soon as I find something.