The Lighter Side
Confused about American political life
By Tony Zurlo
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Feb 22, 2006, 16:23

Dear Pen Pal in America, I hope you are well. After all the recent news stories in the world media about America, I�m just a little worried about you. I belong to a discussion group that meets weekly to discuss world events while sipping our national drink. So please tell me if we are anywhere close to understanding American political life.

After your vice president accidentally shot a man while on a weekend vacation, my friend Hans joked, �The victim wasn't even a reporter.� We bought him a drink for that remark. Then Francois said, �I think I understand why Dead Eye Dick shot a lawyer, but I don't understand why he shot a Republican -- and left witnesses.� That was a worth a new round of drinks.

Another thing. The street rumors here are that his hunting companion, the ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Pam Willeford, has not been seen since the shooting. One of the guys in our discussion group, Giovanni, said that maybe she's still looking for the bird that Dead Eye says he was aiming at. Then an American who is an honorary member of our group joked that �She was reassigned to Freedonia,� wherever that is. He said �After the legendary Democrat Rufus T. Firefly passed away, no president has had the heart to replace him -- until now.� He�s still trying to explain this one to us, but it seems to fit American political logic.

I apologize for the jokes, but everyone here makes fun of the Bush administration. The CIA leaks, the Pentagon leaks, the White House leaks, the Congress leaks. Seems like you need to replace some worn-out parts. They are a funny bunch, those people you have selected to run your country.

We�re even more confused by another recent policy announcement. Your president flies around the country saying to trust him and his people to protect Americans from terrorists. But according to my friend Abdul, Bush�s administration is going to protect Americans by outsourcing control of major U.S. ports: Baltimore, Miami, Newark, New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia. That's some foreign policy you got there. Let a state-owned business from the United Arab Emirates get so damn rich on American soil that they will suppress their own terrorists to preserve profits. Now that's capitalism for you: state-owned. Perhaps the new business, Dubai Ports World, will rebuild New Orleans now that they control the port. That ought to help Americans feel more secure, right?

Boy, by this time, we had drunk one too many national drinks, I think. Nguyen, another guy in the discussion group, joked that your president ought to outsource the research and development of alternative energy  to the "Axis of Evil." That would convince them to join you in your �war on terrorism.� After a big laugh, Manuel added, �Why don't they outsource the whole-damn government? Then they can have another tax cut. Are they a first-rate banana republic or what?�

I think my friends are just shooting off their 28-gauge mouths into the air for laughs. But just in case my e-mails are being monitored by your National Security Agency, this message will self-deteriorate and self-disappear into virtual reality as soon as it detects signals from the vice president�s defibrillator.

Your good buddy from overseas,

Name withheld for fear of outsourced reprisals

Tony Zurlo is a writer/educator living in Arlington, Texas. Currently, he teaches writing and African/Asian culture at Tarrant County College. He has also taught in schools in Nigeria, China, and many parts of the U.S. His op-eds, essays, and reviews have appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Democrats.US, OpEdNews, Peace Corps Writers, Writers Against War, and other journals and newspapers. He also has published nonfiction books on Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Japanese Americans, West Africa, Algeria, and soon Syria. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in more than 65 journals, magazines, and anthologies.

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