Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dear George Bush

I am having some trouble understanding your logic, and just wanted to clarify something that you said in your press conference on August 21, 2006. You said, "We leave before the mission is done, the terrorists will follow us here."

I believe what you are saying (or not saying) is that Iraq is a honey bowl for bees -- meaning that as long as the terrorists are hovering and swarming around Iraq, they won't fly over here and get us.

Mr. President, you are sacrificing our troops by throwing them into the middle of a raging hive that keeps getting bigger the longer we stay. Could it be that you actually believe that the troops are protecting our homeland by keeping the terrorists distracted in Iraq? But our troops were not trained to be bait.

Imagine if they had been deployed to build up the infrastructure of Afghanistan after the Taliban had been valiantly defeated in 2001. Imagine if Kabul was now a city of well-built hospitals, schools, and roads. Had the troops been put to work helping the Middle East create the infrastructure for democracy, do you think the Taliban would have been able to return with such a vengeance? Do you think terrorists would have risen to such power in Iraq?

Well, it's too late for this now. Iraq and Afghanistan, now swarmy zones of violence and mayhem, are suffering because of your lack of foresight. What can be done? Well, perhaps you could work on shifting Middle Eastern public perception of the U.S. by working with Lebanon to beat Hezbollah to the reconstruction of Beruit.

Citizen Kay

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dear Poets:

Let's exercise just a bit of caution here. Yes Campus Watch has attacked the poet Ammiel Alcalay, and with him five other poets. But Campus Watch did NOT attack you. Just because you are a poet does not mean that you are being attacked. We're not some collective of pods. CHILL OUT. There are many reasons to write letters to Campus Watch. They write some outrageous things, and show absolutely no understanding of the complexity of thinking that surrounds the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Listen-- if you want to defend Ammiel, read Ammiel's work. Write a letter to Campus Watch in which you show them how they have taken Ammiel's work out of context. Ask them if they understand that Ammiel, who may speak or write in defense of the Palestinians' quality of life and right to land, is NOT calling for the out and out destruction of the state of Israel! A person like Ammiel who is critical of zionism is NOT pro-terrorist! Ammiel is an incredibly complex and nuanced thinker.... he writes about a lot more than Israel! It is a disservice to his work that Campus Watch would write such an attack on him, or that you, fellow poets, would fan the flame of his attackers by putting yourselves in their spotlight.

Hey--I'm a political poet. I write some damn good political poems and I am OUTRAGED about the state of free speech, assembly, and the justification of torture as it is being promulgated by our government. I am annoyed at Campus Watch for infiltrating our Poetry is News event and writing an article which blatantly takes peoples' words out of context. They're irrational. Why counter them with more irrationality? It's like a bunch of crazy people talking to each other. They thrive on rhetoric... don't feed them. Fight the real struggle-- defend free speech by writing real letters with real facts that deal with real issues.

Citizen Kay

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dear Soul of Karl Rove:

You are a great conceptual thinker, and I am concerned about the collective memory of our nation. Concerned, that is, that your invented scenarios are destructively meddling with our memories, and leading to the demise of this great nation. Now that you have entered a maze of your own design (a difficult conundrum, even for a man of great creative genius) I’m wondering if perhaps you can begin to help, rather than hinder, the soul of America.

For example, I remember that there were really no terrorists in Iraq before this war started. But reading the papers, it would seem that the terrorists have been there all along, and we went in to “get” them. I had this discussion with my neighbor, and he looked at me like I was insane when I told him that the insurgency in Iraq was born and gathered steam only after the invasion. You really got into his head! He doesn't even remember the uranium tubes! He only remembers that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11.

As with this example, your entire strategy is based on the assumption that things happen, and then we forget. I remember when 9/11 felt like something that could not be co-opted, could not be mass-marketed as a product, could not be manipulated; could not, in other words, be forgotten. I thought that 9/11 was a public memory that would lead us to collectively imagine a saner future.

But apparently, you have reconfigured this memory just because you have decided that there are other narratives, more conducive to national interests. I don’t doubt that there are, and always have been, crazy terrorists. But now they have increased 100-fold. Is it part of your design? This evil?

Oh Karl Rove who outed a CIA agent in order to perpetuate a fiction. Save the nation at the same time that you are saving yourself. This is a thought experiment. A challenge that surely you will be eager to face.


Citizen Kay

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Dear Neoconservatives who have infiltrated my government:

I would like to applaud you on the ingenuity of the fiction you are creating. The fiction in which you imagine a scenario, convince others that your scenario is a reality, elude direct questions about the reality of the scenario, stand back while the scenario unfolds disastrously, (unfolds, that is, just as your critics predicted) and then (and this is the beautiful part) defend your scenario as progressing just as you would have liked. Most importantly, I appreciate how you can stick to 3 or 4 words that you repeat over and over again, no matter what the question. This is ingenious because you keep on evading questions in this fashion until the media has moved onto something else. Your attitude is that those people who persist and badger you are just the “elite liberal minority,” and no one has the time (or the interest) in listening to them anyway.

You are very successful at creating a smokescreen that blinds people to the grim reality of the world you are creating. You are testament to the darkest secrets of black magic: create an illusion that seeps far into people’s imaginations, and you can effectively alter their minds. Seduced by images of “freedom,” people tune out their emotional reaction to our troops and the thousands of civilians who are dying in Iraq. Seduced by Power which you flaunt like a “freedom tower,” people laugh and mock protesters who would dare to critique you. Seduced by your wealth and the corporations which back you (all in the name of The American Dream), people actually believe that their Social Security is in jeopardy and that the Stock Market is a reliable source of income!

I see through your ugly magic. I see you bankrupting the government in order to purge it of Roosevelt’s ghost; I see you creating havoc in the Middle East in order to destroy the infrastructure and power base of oil rich countries, and, while the people cry “jihad” or “Armageddon” you steal their oil and resources; I see you creating chaos so that you can remake order to conform to your vision; I see you using democracy and faith as your smokescreen (it creates a beautiful, fragile, and easily manipulatable illusion); and I see people all over the country believing in you as if you were a demigod. I see that they would prop you up as a dictator and build statues of you in their halls of justice. I see that they would follow you even as they follow a path that will lead to the demise of this entire country.

You’re hilarious! I remember when you thought the Communists where taking over the country and you set loose a dramatic witch hunt to purge universities, Hollywood, and working class communities of “the Red Threat!” Ha Ha! All of that was just another smokescreen because all that time you were planning your own infiltration. The Manchurian Candidate indeed. And you set loose your assassins against anyone with the power to move the people to see America as a true democracy. But I won't resort to conspiracy theories. It's just not necessary because things are weird enough already. Like making up Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, knowing that the American People and their media minds would never hold you accountable. You can do anything and get away with it! It's amazing.

Beautiful plasma images! They’ll last until the trees start falling in Yellowstone and the Alaskan Arctic becomes a smokestack. They’ll last until the last of the hard working families can’t pay a mortgage in spite of working 4 jobs. They’ll last until the homeless overflow out of the shelters and the poor-driven-mad take their bats and smash your limousines. How many will you put in jail? Will you build jails big enough to contain 49% of the voting populace?

I’m not worried. Fanaticism ebbs, and it flows, through every century. Right now your bizarro reality is flowing. But I do know this: you’re on the wrong side of history.


Citizen Kay

Inauguration Day, 2005

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Dear Reader:

It's been a long sojourn since my last letter, but rest assured I've been working hard on my citizenry.

I thought I would write a letter to anyone who would like to read it about George Bush's proposed "ownership society." I have some personal experience with "ownership" as I'm sure many people do.

Knowing that I will receive no social security when I retire, I put my savings account in the hands of a big financial broker. Big mistake! Turns out that these firms are in the business of selling mutual funds, NOT helping me to cultivate my nest egg. So I got sold a lot of expensive mutual funds with not very good track records, and of course, lost a good 50% during the 1999 crash. It's a long story, but the point is:

Sure! It's great that I'm in charge of saving for my future--but how about all the people out there in our entrepreneurial society who are out to make a quick buck off of my nest egg? Who is going to regulate the ownership society to make sure people don't get scammed? When all of our retirement money is put into the hands of people looking to make money off of our money, how are we ever going to retire?

Big question: So, I've got this nice little egg...but the nest is made up of flammable materials. Who's going to protect my egg from the flames?

(Meaning...there are some social and cultural problems in America that need to be fixed before the government can just decide that it wants to stop taking care of its people.)


Citizen Kay

PS-- Fundamental questions about nest eggs:

1. What about the nest?

2. How will the nest brave the elements?

3. Who is the mother bird?

4. What about the robbers?

5. What happens when the tree falls?

Monday, September 6, 2004

Dear Ted Nordhaus and Evans McDonough of

Hello and thanks for your excellent blog. It's very informative and I hope John Kerry is paying attention!

My idea is that the Kerry campaign (or if not him, then perhaps MoveOn) should host a series of "swing parties in swing states." Dick Cheney won't swing (as we learned from his wife's convention speech...) but perhaps American swing voters will! Get a local swing band, some good advertising and food, make it open to families and kids... aside from dancing, there could be folks set up in booths to discuss the hard issues. Not with the intention of "converting" people, just with the intention of finding out what matters to voters. And of course, encouraging them to vote. Get Americans talking to each other... and in a forum that is different from politics as usual. That's what I think Kerry needs to do.

Of course I also think he needs to really fight back--and hard--with rhetoric and symbolism. He could be subtle, and even polite about it. He should take words and phrases directly out of President Bush's mouth and restate them with clear facts. For example, he could say: "In his speech, President Bush evoked 9/11. He said, 'Here buildings fell; Here a nation rose." But, what does it mean for a nation to rise if 43 million of its citizens are without health insurance and 36 million are living in poverty? When most nations of the world have little confidence in the motivations of this nation's leader, towards what future are we rising?'"

Thanks again,

Citizen Kay

Monday, August 30, 2004

Dear Dr. James R. Mahoney, Top Bush Administration Official

As a young girl growing up in the 1970s, I remember that adults seemed very concerned about the future, and even remember a slogan that went something like, "Save the Planet for our Children." It was during the 1970s that scientists were predicting an increase in global warming that could, in fact, be avoided if we citizens began changing our consumer habits and corporations began changing their polluting pratices. I remember the day in 1979 when solar panels were installed on my father's modest suburban house; and I remember the day, five years ago, when he paid to have them removed. "They're ugly," he said. "And the company that made them went out of business, so there is no way to maintain them." Now that I am an adult myself, with a child of my own, I wonder: What happened between then and now? For me, the future is here... but the planet doesn't seem to have been saved.

I'm certainly not blaming you for the fact that solar panels are no longer stylish. But I am wondering how you could just suddenly agree with scientists who have long been aware that "emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are the only likely explanation for global warming over the last three decades" (*)

I don't understand: your administration has consistently sided with industry on most matters concerning the enviornment, whether it be working to undermine safe drinking water standards or working with oil companies to drill in the beautiful wilderness. This kind of zig zagging is really quite unproductive... it's important that the initiatives taken in previous decades be followed through. Please try and stick with your gumptions here... please continue to agree with scientists.

Many thanks,

Citizen Kay