copyright 2003 Todd Ristau

Freedom Tickler

Another Archie Levine piece, adapted for the stage by Todd Ristau from a letter to the editor by Jim Thorn.
Additional material contributed by Barbara Karlson.

(News Theme Music and lights up on a man in a suit seated at a desk, music out. To be performed as an angry rant in the style of Lewis Black or Andy Rooney after being kept in a cage for a week fed only Mexican food and tequila.)

ARCHIE: Republican Congressmen recently struck a bold blow for Truth, Justice, and the American Way: the French fries in the Capitol cafeterias have been renamed "freedom fries" because the French don't support the Bush administration's proposed invasion of Iraq.

Ditto for the French toast.

One's immediate reaction, of course, is: "You've got to be fucking kidding. That's sooo childish."

But the undercurrents here a lot darker than simple childishness. Since they came to power in 2000, the Republicans have shown a disturbing tendency to interpret opposition, any opposition, as treason.

For example, when Attorney General John Ashcroft declared that anyone who publicly criticized Bush's plans for secret military tribunals was guilty of "giving aid and comfort to the terrorists." Who'd have thought we'd get an Attorney General who'd make Ed Meese look like a a liberal?

One of the leaders of this fearless Congressional assault on Franconymic foodstuffs, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), referred to France as "our so-called ally."

Majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), a cooler head, stated that formal retaliation against France was "unnecessary" because they have "isolated themselves" in the "War on Terror."

In other words, these Congressmen see France's decision not to support the invasion - a decision in which they have been supported by a likely majority of the nations on the Security Council - not merely as a policy disagreement, but as treachery so heinous that we can't even let their name sully our menus!

A significant percentage of the American people feel just the same way that France does; recent polls show that at least 42% of us disapprove of Bush's plans for invasion.

Do these Republican Congressmen regard 42% of all Americans as traitors? We've all heard the jokes now on the news--Freedom Kissing, Freedom Ticklers, Freedom Poodles, Samuel Freedom Play Publishing--I've even seen news reports of D-Day veterans who received medals from the French Government for liberating France from the Nazis are now sending those medals back to protest the French unwillingness to participate in our invasion of Iraq.

What next?

What should we do about our most important gift from France, the symbol of all our (formerly held) values, the Statue of Liberty? Should we send that back to France?

Given the current state of our economy it probably wouldn't be cost effective.

I suggest that we make a large black shroud and cover her up instead.

The Statue of Liberty in mourning seems appropriate to me.

It would have the dual effect of insulting France and at the same time would declare our new attitude toward the world.


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