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Monday, May 24, 2002

An Open Letter to John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States

By Claire Braz-Valentine

On January 28, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he spent $8,000 of taxpayerís money for drapes to cover up the exposed breast of The Spirit of Justice, an 18-foot aluminum statue of a woman that stands in the Hall of Justice.

John, John, John,

youíve 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,


you are out buying yardage

to save Americans

from the appalling

alarming, abominable

aluminum alloy of evil,

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.


Itís not that we arenít 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,

youíve 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 motherís 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.


Itís not the money it cost.

Itís the message you send.

Weíve got the right to live in freedom.

We got the right to cheat Americans out

of millions of dollars and then

just not want to tell congress about it.

Weíve got the right

to drop bombs night and day

on a small country that has no army,

no navy, no military at all,

because weíve got the right to bear arms

but we just better not even think

about not 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


there is still one very big boob left standing there in that picture.

Claire Braz-Valentine was born and raised in San Francisco. For further information about her work, visit her website at http://homepage.mac.com/clairebraz/