Bush, Martha, The Blairs, Zora and WMD'S

June 8, 2003

By Allan P. Duncan

New Hope, PA

Americans react to scandals and lies in strange and peculiar ways. There have been many scandals involving lying and cheating in the headlines lately, and it's interesting to note how the media and the public use different standards to judge the people at the center of these maelstroms.

I've never been particularly fond of Martha Stewart, but it bugs me the way she is being made an example of, while "Kenny Boy" Lay who cleaned out the pension fund of thousands of his workers is allowed to walk free. Something stinks here and I think I know the reason why.

Martha should have worn a cowboy hat and chaps, and spent more time teaching folks the finer points of barbecuing Texas style instead of coming off like some uppity Connecticut Yankee. It also wouldn't have hurt if she had thrown a few ducats towards Bush the way Kenny did. There's a profound lesson to be learned here kiddies, and that is to make sure you grease the palms of Republicans so that you can get an officially sanctioned "Get Out of Jail Free Card" the next time you screw up.

The Jayson Blair scandal also bothers me. I'm not condoning the fact that he plagiarized and lied about articles he wrote for the New York Times, but Tony Blair (no relation to Jayson) apparently used a crudely plagiarized twelve year old report from an American grad student that was swiped off the internet, and claimed that it was an official British intelligence document to justify going to war with Iraq. Colin Powell also used information from a plagiarized intelligence report that indicated that Iraq had tried to secure materials for nuclear weapons from Niger.

Today we hear that intelligence officials believe that the two trucks found in Iraq, thought to be mobile bioweapons labs, are most likely trucks used to produce hydrogen for artillery balloons. These trucks were also supposedly sold to Iraq by the Brits in 1987. Most Americans are also unaware that it was the Reagan Bush Administration that gave Saddam bio and chemical agents in the first place and did absolutely nothing to stop him from using them against the Iranians and the Kurds since Saddam was our butt buddy back then. Ever seen the photo of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand back in the 80's? Ahhh, those were the days.

Jayson Blair lost his job and has been dragged through the mud for weeks now. The credibility of the New York Times had been seriously damaged and yesterday two of its editors resigned in shame. George Bush, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair and others have repeatedly lied by using bogus intelligence to justify going to war with Iraq and to date not one of them has admitted to any wrongdoing and none of them have been forced to step down the way those from the New York Times have.

Is lying about the facts contained in a newspaper article worse that lying about the facts contained in an intelligence report? You would think so by the fact that the person who wrote the articles along with some of his superiors are gone now, while those who lied about the reasons for going to war still have their jobs and profess no guilt over the fact that thousands of innocent Iraqis were killed and that American soldiers continue to come home in body bags because of their lies.

It also seems to me as though President Clinton was held to a much higher level of accountability than out current President. Clinton actually went through impeachment proceedings for lying about a consensual relationship, and had to endure the forty million dollar witch hunt known as "Whitewater" for years.

Bush on the other hand, has openly lied about Iraq's possession of WMD's and has also cited "Executive Privilege" which enables him to slither away from revealing what he knew about warnings of attacks by Al Qaeda prior to 9-11. Some of us know what he knew, and know why he is trying so hard to cover his ass.

If Bush acknowledged that he knew about these warnings, he would then have to explain why he didn't warn the American people of impending attacks and why he didn't enact safeguards to protect the American public on 9-11. As Commander in Chief, he would also have to answer to the fact that our air defense system and our entire national security apparatus was totally impotent on 9-11, despite the fact that he made defense spending a priority over all else.

Reality TV has also become more popular in America and some of these shows have used deceit and lies in an attempt to secure high ratings. I guess they are a metaphor of sorts and a reflect our society as a whole. As above, so below as the old adage goes, which leads me to Zora.

I bet you were wondering who the hell Zora is, and what does she have to do with Bush, Martha, the Blairs and WMD's? Well be patient for a few moments and I'll tell you her story.

Joe Millionaire was a wildly popular show on Fox this past season, which used a lie as its premise. Evan "Joe Millionaire" Marriott was passed off as a wealthy young man living in a chateau in France, while in reality he was a construction worker from California who made nineteen grand a year. A bunch of beautiful women from the states were brought over to the chateau to vie for his hand. One of them was Zora Andrich, from Lambertville, NJ. I happen to live in New Hope, PA which is directly across the Delaware River from Lambertville and our towns are connected by a common bridge. I got hooked on the show because of the local girl angle and rooted for her all the way.

Zora was the only one of the women who refused to abandon her ideals and make an ass of herself. While other girls stripped down to thongs and bikinis in an attempt to seduce Joe, Zora remained a lady at all times. It was also revealed that Zora had a tough childhood and lived a humble lifestyle. She was a substitute teacher and took care of senior citizens in Lambertville and was known to be a selfless soul. People that I know, who know her, raved about what a wonderful person she was.

I thought for sure that Joe would pick one of the bimbos or sluts, but much to my amazement he chose Zora. For once my faith in mankind was restored, as the supposed horndog Evan Marriott chose a woman of substance over a woman who had appeared in soft porn foot fetish films.

To top off the fairy tale, Evan and Zora were given a million dollars to split. I have to admit that I got a little misty eyed and a bit verklempt when I saw the local girl receiving a gift that would give her financial security and gave her more options on what she could do with her life.

Needless to say, Lambertville went bonkers when Zora was chosen and she was given a day of her own where she rode through the streets in a horse drawn carriage. I made a sign that proclaimed "Yo Zora, You Coulda Had Me" with an arrow pointing down, but I ended up having to work that Saturday and was forced to miss her special day. I told friends of mine, that all Zora had to do was walk across the damn bridge and she might have found me if she had been lucky, but I guess it just wasn't in the stars.

Two days ago I was coming out of the CVS in New Hope and saw a vision of loveliness walking towards me from the direction of the parking lot. It didn't dawn on me right way, but as I cast another glance towards her I could have sworn it was Zora! She was wearing a faded pair of jeans and an olive green Army tank top and didn't appear to be wearing any make up. When I realized that it must be Zora, time itself seemed to slow down as the sun highlighted her long windswept chestnut hair, creating shades and hues of auburns and golds that literally took my breath away. I swear to you that she was more beautiful in person than she appeared on Joe Millionaire and this was sans makeup, hair and wardrobe stylists who are paid lots of money to make people look great on TV. Zora really did appear to be humble and down to earth and hadn't gone Hollywood on us afterall, as some had feared.

I glanced back at her one more time as she entered the store and felt compelled to yell out "Yo Zora, you coulda had me", but didn't. I respected her too much and didn't want to invade her privacy so I just let it go. For once in my life I showed a bit of class. I guess it still isn't in the stars.

So that's how Zora ended up in this essay. I had to brag to the world that I saw her somehow. Seriously though, Zora does in fact represent to me all that is good in America, and I just wish that more of our leaders and politicians lived up to the ideals that most of us were taught as kids and quit playing games with us like we're stupid or something. America would be a much better place if they did.

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