Note: Michael Ackley’s columns are satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

Dear Jane,

Thank you for inviting me to the meeting of Freelance Diplomats. It was great spending time with you and meeting Sean, Jesse, Martin and especially that great guy Bill. I think it’s wonderful that gentleman wants to continue serving humanity. After all his years of public service, he has earned the right to his semi-retirement, but I can understand how boring it must be for a man of his intelligence and energy just to rattle around the governor’s mansion in Santa Fe.

I really appreciated his explanation of his contacts with North Korea, which had struck me as vaguely illegal. Now I understand that sort of thing is OK, as long as you don’t purport to represent the government.

(I’m still a bit confused about why agents of a foreign government would want to meet with me if I didn’t represent my own government. It’s almost as if they were trying to cause embarrassment, though I know it’s uncharitable of me even to think it.)

Anyway, it’s good that Bill was able to build on the trust he established by letting just a few of our secrets slip away when he was energy secretary. I hope he wasn’t offended when I asked him if Kim Il Sung was the same person who used to portray “Pat” on “Saturday Night Live.”

And that Sean! The way he pretended to be “a little wasted” throughout the meeting. He was so funny when he talked about working with the Institute for Public Accuracy and kept saying how “progressive” it was. I thought I’d burst when he explained that the institute’s mission was “to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for those whose perspectives are commonly drowned out by corporate-backed think tanks.” And I really broke up when he “threatened” to punch me for asking to take a group photo. Such a kidder.

Jesse was all I expected him to be, though I must admit I was a bit put off when he kept asking me for a reparations contribution. I swear, nobody can rhyme like him: “Their terror reflects our error,” and “Zionist: We’re not buyin’ this.” The man is a poet.

His accounts of his travels as a Freelance Diplomat helped me understand how besmirching our nation while overseas actually enhances the American image by demonstrating how free we are. I can only imagine how low we might fall in foreign esteem if it weren’t for this clever ploy.

(Were you surprised the first time you met Martin? He looks so much taller on television, and he looked fine at the San Francisco peace rally.)

As for yourself, well, I really was distressed when you told us how that Israeli lady said she “would not give that American traitor the time of day.” How rude it was of her to refer to that unfortunate business in Hanoi so long ago. Why can’t people just let go of their old resentments?

Most of all, I am grateful to all the Freelance Diplomats for making it clear that it is not important to be terribly well informed about world affairs or terribly concerned about how our celebrity might seem to be “used” by others who actually have a pretty good idea what they’re doing. I understand now that what is most important is to be sincere, to care deeply and to have a lot of free time.

I already have the first two of those attributes. You can be sure that if I’m elected governor of a small state or get that big break in pictures, I’ll feel ready, especially knowing that all those progressive organizations are out there, ready to help me make a difference.

(Really Sincerely,)

Howard Bashford

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