Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hear those footsteps? Its Homeland Security, coming to kick my arse back home.

To my dear USA

Firstly I want to thank you for blessing the earth with so many wonderous things. ER, lightbulbs, Bob Dylan, Interpol, Lost, movies with Will Smith in them, and the Wilson brothers are all things that make this world a better place.
I really feel like we've got to know each other quite well in the last two and a half months that I have been living here, I almost would go so far as to say we have become friends.
However, as friends must do, I feel it is important to speak truthfully. No friend would let another carry on in a manner not befitting their potential, or in ways which may cause harm to themselves or other.
Therefore I feel I must offer you some words of advice, believe me, these are spoken as a friend.
- It is vital to the health of the nation that you immediately establish an independently run, state financed media company. Ask no questions, it must be done. I know, it seems counter intuitive to creating an independent media, but with the current state of play, business interests currently dictate the majority of content covered in the media. Base this new organisation on the model provided by the BBC in all its imperfect glory, and do not allow anybody remotely affiliated with the government or a business earning over a million dollars a year anywhere near it.
- Offending someone is NOT actually the worst thing that can happen. You must learn to accept the fact that people are going to be offended by most things. Some of the time when they do, the only thing one can do in response is turn to them and say "get over it". In keeping with this, stop bleeping out swear words on the telly. If you are able to support a government that is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 26-30 000 Iraqi civilians, you can handle a few "fuck"s on public television.
- Stop whining about the cost of petrol. The rest of the world pays way more than you and are happy to do so. Petrol should be expensive, it should discourage you from using your cars unneccesarily. Because cars mean pollution, and pollution means climate change and depleted ozone layers and through-the-roof skin cancer rates and bleached coral reefs and rising oceans and destroyed ecosystems and dirty air and extinct animal species.
- Accept that the men who wrote the constitution were in fact wrong about the whole gun thing. It happens. Deal with it, round up all the guns, melt them down and build playgrounds and indestructable levees with the remains. As an alternative, follow Mr Chris Rock's idea of making bullets prohibitively expensive. "I'm gonna go away, get a second job, save up all my money, and then come back and shoot you".
- I know you talk a lot about freedom and equality and the like, but I'm not sure you really have a grip on a basic fact. Skin colour and Y chromosomes do not a person define.
- Learn to spell. See: dialogue, catalogue, colour, labour, globalisation, aluminium, programme etc.
- Halve the yearly intake of every single law school in the country. If there weren't so many lawyers, you would not have this problem of opportunistic lawyers chasing ambulances and advertising on the telly that they can help me get appropriate compensation for having been injured at work. These people are doing the devil's work.
- Spend more money on drug education, rehabilitation and work with at-risk youth than you spend on locking them up. It is a truth universally acknowledged that prison is where petty thieves become hardened criminals.
- Stop glamourising war. Its not nice. Its yucky and messy and people die with bits of them falling out of their bodies and they do horrible things and nine times out of ten (note: I invented this statistic) the purpose is not security or some noble national good but to line the pockets of those who already have a gajillion dollars and the blood of a thousand idealistic youths on their hands.
- Stop sticking your noses in other people's business. (see Nicaragua, Israel, Venezuela, Iraq etc) If we need your help on an international effort, we'll be sure to give you a call. We know you have a big shiny military and want to keep it in business, but there is such a thing as international law, national security and the UN. OK thats three things.
- If you're really keen on fighting a war on terror you won't need guns. You'll need development aid, respect for foreign cultures, education and food packages and understanding. Also, following the above will help you no end. You would also do well to have a wee look in the mirror from time to time (what is the only country EVER to be convicted of terrorism by the international court?)
- Medicine, education and defence are not meant to be profit making enterprises.
- Not all brown people are Arabs, not all Middle Easterners are Arabs, not all Arabs are terrorists, not all Muslims are terrorists, not all people who oppose you are terrorists, not all terrorists are without a valid point.
- Remember the following maxim, repeat it daily: Regime change begins at home.
- Tell ABC that if they DARE kill Sawyer on Lost I will personally go to LA, find the person responsible, and kick seven shades of shit out of them.

Don't get me wrong, you're doing a great job. The beer is cheap, the university keeps giving me money for just showing up, and most nights theres a great programme on the telly.
I just want my friends to be able to live up to their full potential. I would offer the same advice to any of my friends. Sarah, quit smoking. See?

Thanks for listening, its great to have friends like you around.

Love, Claire