WASHINGTON We want big. We want fast. We want far. We want now. We want 345 horsepower in a V-8 engine and 15 miles per gallon on the highway.
We drive behemoths. We drive them alone. This country was not built on H.O.V. lanes.
We don't have limits. We have liberties.
If we don't wear our seat belts, it doesn't matter, because we have air bags. If the air bags don't deploy, it doesn't matter, because our cars are so beefy, we'll never get bruised. If we need to widen the streets for our all- wheel drives, we will. If we need to reinforce all the bridges in the country, so that they don't buckle and collapse under our 5,800-pound S.U.V.'s, our engineers will do that.
We'll bake the earth. We'll brown & serve it, sauté it, simmer it, sear it, fondue it, George-Foreman-grill it. (We invented the Foreman grill.) We might one day bring the earth to a boil and pull it like taffy. (We invented taffy.)
If rising seas obliterate the coasts, our marine geologists will sculpt new ones and Hollywood will get bright new ideas for disaster movies. If we get charred by the sun, our dermatologists will replace our skin.
If the globe gets warmer, we'll turn up the air-conditioning. (We invented air-conditioning.) We'll drive faster in our gigantic, air-conditioned cars to the new beaches that our marine geologists create.
We will let our power plants spew any chemicals we deem necessary to fire up our Interplaks, our Krups, our Black & Deckers and our Fujitsu Plasmavisions.
We will drill for oil whenever and wherever we please. If tourists don't like rigs off the coast of Florida, they can go fly fishing in Wyoming. We won't be deterred by a few Arctic terns. We don't care about caribou. We don't care for cardigans. Give us our 69 degrees, winter and summer. Let there be light — no timers, no freaky- shaped long-life bulbs. (We invented the light bulb.)
We want our refrigerators cold and our freezers colder. Bring on the freon. Banish those irritating toilets that restrict flow. When we flush, we flush all the way.
We will perfect the dream of nuclear power. We will put our toxic waste wherever we want, whenever we waste it. We have whole states with nothing better to do than serve as ancestral burial grounds for our effluvium. It can fester in those wide open spaces for thousands of years.
We will have the biggest, baddest missiles, and we will point them in any direction we like, across the galaxies, through eternity, forever and ever.
We will thrust as many satellites as we want into outer space, and we will surround them with a firewall of weapons for their protection.
We will guarantee broadband and fast connections to the Internet. We will not permit anybody, anywhere, at any time to threaten the delivery of all the necessities to computers, Palm Pilots and BlackBerrys: stock quotes, sports scores, real estate listings, epicurean.com recipes, porn. (O.K., so we didn't invent porn.)
By arming space, and protecting satellites, we ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — our 500 TV channels drawn from the ether.
We will secure the inalienable right of every citizen driving by himself in his big car to be guided by a global positioning system. Nobody should have to call in advance for directions to a party when the satellite can show the way.
We will modify food in any way we want and send it to any country we see fit at prices that we and we alone determine in the cargo ships we choose at the time we set.
Our international banking arm — the World Bank and the I.M.F. — will support whatever dictatorships suit us best.
We will fly up any coast of any nation on earth with any plane filled with any surveillance equipment and top guns that we possess.
We will build superduperjumbo jets so Brobdingnagian that runways will be crushed under their weight at the most congested airports in the history of aviation. (We invented aviation.)
We will buy, carry, conceal and shoot firearms whenever and wherever we want, as is our constitutionally guaranteed right. (We invented the Constitution.) We will kill any criminal we want, by lethal injection or electrocution. (We invented electricity.)
We are America.
Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company