Open Letter

Dear Mr. President,

We, the Massachusetts liberals, would like to congratulate you on your victory last month and to extend to you a celebratory virgin daiquiri, and perhaps an olive branch. There's no point in being sore losers since we're all fellow citizens of this great republic, even those of us in extrajudicial incarceration. Yes, you beat our man Kerry fair and square — to paraphrase your good self, “he gave it up like a New Orleans whore at the police ball.” But there's a bone left over from the fight, and we wish to pick it.

During the election debates (which were very funny, thank you), you bandied about the phrase “from Massachusetts” as if it were an insult. For shame. Massachusetts is the birthplace of our nation. It boasts the proudest history of any state in the union, as well as a sterling variety of universities, hospitals, and quality dining. We opened the nation's first public school, first public library, and first public transportation system (note that word “public”). Our state inoculates children against disease, free of charge, and we have an excellent base ball team. Our native sons and daughters include such American heroes as Benjamin Franklin, John Kennedy, and Tru Calling 's lovely Eliza Dushku. But while we didn't vote for your party (and won't until Karl Rove gerrymanders the Democrats out of existence altogether), that doesn't mean we can't be friends. After all, we have a lot in common. You're a New Englander: we're New Englanders. You like marriage: so do we, and we'd like to spread it around.

We Massachusetts liberals have a lot to offer to these Brave New States of America.

Sure, we may be a tad outnumbered, but we're heirs to the tradition of Enlightenment principles upon which this country was founded. You remember: empiricism (“the world is getting warmer because of greenhouse emissions”), logic (“global warming is disastrous for us all”), and rationality (“therefore I'll sign the Kyoto Protocol”). Education makes you think like that.

Sadly, you have replaced reason with faith, facts with mantra, and rational humanism with some sort of weird cult involving oil wells and Jesus. And while this spits in the face of two centuries of American tradition, one can only be impressed by your personal grooming.

Mr. President, four years ago, you called yourself a uniter, not a divider. Well, to paraphrase your mother, Barbara, “That ain't worth the shine on a coonhound's nuts.” Regardless of your majority support in Jim Crow country, America remains a nation disjointed. Indeed, were it not for voters like our great aunt in Ohio, who supported you because she heard that Kerry “has Jewish blood in him,” your mandate would extend no further than to filling in the armadillo holes around the Crawford Coffee Stop. Not that we can disenfranchise people for incontinence or racism. That would be wrong. Perhaps as wrong as illegal wars, torture, and the death penalty.

Of course, we northern liberals do have to accept blame for some of our country's ills. Had we not slaughtered our southern cousins so efficiently at Gettysburg, the red states would have seceded and gone the way of other conservative, religious societies. Like Iran. Then us real Americans could have happily moved forward creating jobs, outlawing guns, handing out free education and health-care, and marrying our hairdressers.

So we want a divorce . After 140 years of reflection, it's pretty obvious that Lincoln was wrong, and we're ready to part ways — us to a nice little corner of liberal secularism, you to medieval darkness and branding irons. On your side, you could wallpaper your courtrooms with the Ten Commandments, create a thriving industry in back-alley abortions, and execute anybody you damn well please. For our part, we could throw lots of money at public broadcasting and security for our international ports. We're sure we can come to an amicable division of property. You get the weapons plants; we get the coastal real estate (except for Guantanamo Bay, which we hear isn't very much fun to visit anyway). Oh, and please feel free to take your “family values” with you.

Sure, there'll be regrets. We had some good times together, like when the whole country embraced The Dukes of Hazzard. But you'll agree that secession's the adult thing to do. To tell you the truth, we've got to admit to certain, well, feelings for Canada (universal healthcare is so dreamy, and those low crime statistics . . . wow!). And, come on: Since we're coming clean, you might as well admit that you've got a thing for Myanmar. Show trials, a shackled press, those military costumes . . . We know what turns you on.

In closing, Mr. President, we wish you Godspeed on your journey through the next four years. Truly we do. Not for us are the cheap jokes that snipe at your lack of curiosity, your disdain for learning, and your incapacity with English. That would only lower the level of discussion. You proved your intelligence when you ran that successful shrimping business in Mobile. And who wouldn't applaud your valiant service in Vietnam, where you risked your life under enemy fire to rescue Gary Sinise? As you're so fond of saying, Mr. President, life is indeed like a box of chocolates, and it would be a great deal sweeter if everyone followed your example as a compassionate conservative, just like when you stood by the deathbed of that junky-slut Robin Wright Penn.

Enclosed is a gift bag of pretzels.