Washington Post 9/28 - Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes questioned Tuesday the Saudi ban on driving by women, telling a crowd of several hundred Saudi women, covered head to toe in black clothing, that it had negatively shaped the image of Saudi society in the United States.

"We in America take our freedoms very seriously," Hughes said. "I believe women should be free and equal participants in society. I feel that as an American woman that my ability to drive is an important part of my freedom."

...she went significantly further in her statement than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did on a visit three months ago. Rice pressed for greater political freedoms for women but dismissed the subject of driving as "just a line that I have not wanted to cross."

"Oh brother, Condi. I sure didn't expect the kind of negative reaction I got from those ladies... I don't know, do you think they were under surveillance or something?"

"Probably Karen, but I doubt that it would've made any difference either way. Did you see those bints?"

"Uh, no, as a matter of fact I didn't. Just their eyes..."

"My point exactly. Just imagine not having the freedom to go shopping whenever you wanted."

"Well, Condi, I guess I'm not really into shopping as much as you are."

"Sure, Karen. Sure. But I do happen to notice that you don't wear the same outfit every day."

"I said that I didn't like shopping, Condi, not that I didn't like clothes. My husband does all my shopping for me. Except for the shoes, of course."

"Jerry? Wow, he's got pretty good taste for a guy."

"He really does, doesn't he? Of course we don't have all the cool stores in Austin, but that's part of living the simple life. Anyway, I can't imagine not being able to drive my Beemer... the thought makes me ill."

"To each their own. I prefer to be chauffeured, myself. That's one area where I stand in solidarity with my Saudi sisters. Why drive when you can have a man do it for you, know what I mean? If they can all afford drivers, I say go for it."

"Rich bitches."

"Karen..."

"I don't care. They weren't taking me seriously. It's my job to spread the American message in the Muslim world."

"Which is?"

"Driving is good. Driving is freedom. And driving is a whole heck of a lot of fun."

"Whoa, boy. I told George that he was taking this cronyism thing too far."

"What?"

"Nothing, Karen. I was just thinking about Michael Brown. Hey, how about some lunch? Kinkead's? It's my treat."

"Sounds great. I'll drive."


2005, Mark Hoback