Lucky to be an American
   or, What it Means to Not Live in Sudan

by Jan Baughman

May 14, 2001

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San Francisco: the Mecca of Human Rights
If you are one of the few and unlucky American men trapped in women's bodies, or women trapped in men's bodies, you suffer from gender dysphoria - something you probably wouldn't be allowed to even speak about in Sudan. But in America, a new trend just may be sweeping the country! The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently voted to grant up to $50,000 in sex change benefits to city employees, including hormone treatment, psychotherapy and surgical procedures. Only a handful of people may actually take advantage of this perk, but it's a popular move in this progressive bastion of America, and it sure beats trying to tackle the problems of housing dysphoria, living-wage dysphoria, basic health care dysphoria and employment dysphoria.

Fifty thousand dollars would probably vaccinate a lot of children in Sudan...

The Right to Get Fat, Get Thin, Get Breasts and Get Rich
Rather than eating less and exercising more, Americans spend billions of dollars per year on weight loss pills, therapy, diet foods and scams, not only for themselves, but for their pets as well. One lucky and formerly fat American woman just hit the weight loss jackpot. After losing 100 pounds, she of course needed surgery to remove the sagging skin left behind. Her plastic surgeon at UCLA Medical Center took that extra tissue, without her consent, and stuffed it into her size 34B breasts. She woke up to 40 double-Ds and, more recently, woke up to a $1.6 million damage award. It has not been disclosed if she will keep the breasts along with the money.

One point six million dollars would probably feed a lot of people in Sudan...

Swift Justice, Death Penalty and Human Rights
If you're an American, you have an arsenal of guns, weapons and materiel at your fingertips with which you might, for example, blow up a Federal building in protest of the Federal government and kill, say, 168 people, and still get a fair and swift trial and maybe the novelty of a Federal execution. Now, while most terrorists are not Americans, only if you're an American terrorist could you star in the ultimate reality TV show and have your death televised for the victims and their families. And if in the unlikely event that mistakes were made and your Federal Bureau of Investigation forgot to produce some evidence for your case (even if it wouldn't help you), you may get to enjoy another month of life, while entrepreneurs everywhere make a little more profit off of new twists on t-shirts with your likeness. (Never mind the hotel rooms that stand empty and the overstocked grocery store shelves suffering from the delay of your death.) You'll probably never see your share of the profits, though your relatives can sue long after you are gone because they created you and therefore own the rights to you and your likeness and are entitled to royalties from the t-shirts and the made-for-TV movie and the unauthorized biographies. Meanwhile, the remainder of Americans will be even luckier because our world will be safer with you gone, and other would-be terrorists will have been deterred from performing such heinous acts.

"He is lucky to be an American. This is a country that will bend over backwards to make sure that his constitutional rights are guaranteed, as opposed to rushing his fate," said President Bush yesterday about Timothy McVeigh, whose execution has been delayed one month while the FBI investigates itself.

The president went on to whine about the US being voted off the United Nations' Human Rights Commission. "We're off and Sudan is on. I'm not so sure - you know, it sent an awfully, awfully strange signal to the world, it seems like to me. Yes?"   "To me it undermines the whole credibility of this commission, to kick the United States off, one of the great bastions of human rights, and allow Sudan to be on. And I think most reasonable people in the world see it that way."

Most reasonable people in the world, including Sudan, had no comment...


Jan Baughman is a scientist in the Biotech Industry. When Jan does not travel around the world on behalf of the company where she manages a clinical research department, she spends most of her time devouring books like candies and relaxing over the preparation of the finest recipes in Northern California. She started writing at a very young age when she found this mode of expression easier than having to answer the perpetually boring and conservative chit-chat around her. Jan's sense of observation is directly related to her sense of humor. She is a founding member and co-editor of Swans, and brings to the site wit and a lightness of being.

Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

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Other "Only in America" commentaries by Jan Baughman

The Enemy Within (9/11/96)

Take Back Your Tired, Your Poor... (5/27/97)

Hold the Mayo (6/13/97)

Is That a Gun Under Your Robe, Father? (7/19/98)

Warning: No One is Responsible for Anything (10/31/99)

The Best System on Earth (if You Can Afford it) (7/10/00)

Hypocrisy Without Limitation (11/20/00)


Published May 14, 2001
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