Jewish World Review Jan. 3, 2001/ 19 Teves, 5762

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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The year that was


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- THE year began with a vow by the media to find the real winner in Florida. "Every chad a vote," was their motto. With a photo of a mustachioed Katherine Harris as inspiration, they began counting the dimpled, the hanging and the loose - a daunting task in any retirement haven.

News distractions of 2001 nearly thwarted their efforts. In January the Clinton Dynasty ended with a flourish that took even we Clinton bashers aback. The departing Oxford hick looted the White House whilst pardoning Marc Rich. Having been on the lam since the 1980s, Mr. Rich had not yet been tried, let alone convicted. But his ex-wife, Denise, a songwriter, was endowed with sizeable soft-money contributions.

Mr. Bush was sworn in as president with Mr. Gore visibly disgruntled during the inauguration speech and muttering, "The New York Times is still counting, ranch boy."

California soon grabbed headlines because residents there discovered that power plants are the root cause of electricity. Angry Californians tossed Ed Begley, Jr. and his electric car campaign from the environmentally powerless Golden State.

John Ashcroft's nomination for attorney general was not well received. A Pee-wee Herman nomination would have had less resistance and he is not a lawyer. Mr. Clinton joined Mr. Herman as a non-lawyer when the Arkansas Supreme Court threatened disbarment. The underage Bush girls were also ousted from several bars - those in which spirits and TexMex are served.

In May the FBI revealed 3,135 previously undisclosed documents in its Timothy McVeigh investigation. Senator Hillary Clinton, astonished at the sudden discovery of long-lost documents, clicked her tongue, "How could this have happened?"

It was the best of times and the worst of times for animals. Britain's Parliament imposed a fox hunting ban and "Monkey Man" terrorized residents of Utter Predesh in India. In Yeti and Loch Ness tradition, Monkey Man staged 48 attacks, with 3 deaths of frightened souls who jumped from windows when confronted by the intruding MM. The Taliban had no comment. Leo the dog perished when he was hurled across a California freeway during a road rage incident. Despite John Ashcroft's confirmation as attorney general, Leo's killer was sentenced to 3 years.

Actor Robert Blake found camaraderie with O.J. Simpson and John and Patsy Ramsey. All had loved ones murdered when no one else was around and vowed to find the real killers. The media real prez counters in Florida said, "You go, Baretta."

Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont jumped ship from Democrat using Republican funds to get elected to unabashed Democrat, thus tipping the balance of power in the Senate. The Daschle plan of joint leadership was deep-sixed with Jeffords' defection.

June was a sad month. Archie Bunker, aka Carroll O'Connor, left us meatheads. Racing legend Dale Earnhardt was killed and Vince Foster theorists emerged. The media demanded the autopsy report, curious about the cause of death when a racecar driver crashes into a wall doing 180 mph. Andrea Yates killed her five young children and became the poster girl for the media's self-concocted gender curse of postpartum depression. Katie Couric stumped for funds for defense lawyers. Leo the dog had more supporters than the five Yates children.

Enter Gary Condit and Chandra Levy. Another intern captured the nation's attention because she had mysteriously disappeared without a Barbara Walters' interview. Rep.Condit offered assistance in the search for Ms. Levy by throwing his coat over his shoulder and continuing to blow-dry his hair.

In July, the New York Times issued a 3,000-word, front-page report on the Florida recount. No one is quite sure what the story said except Al Gore had not yet won.

In August Bill Clinton opened his Harlem offices and said he was "home." Mr. Bush did go home to Crawford, Texas where the media halted counting long enough to grouse about a too-long presidential vacation.

From the barren ranch, Mr. Bush partially approved stem-cell research based on Sen. Orrin Hatch's promise that Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox would be cured.

Then came September 11. The media had its hands full with massive loss of life, closed airports, anthrax and the spelling of Al Qaeda.

The recount results emerged in November. Mr. Bush won Florida, no matter how they counted the ballots, the dimples, the chads and the courts. But the country had already found its real president and given him an 88% approval rating for smoking out terrorists and taking them dead or alive.

We returned to home, family, friends, patriotism and G-d. John Ashcroft could do no wrong. America the beautiful confirmed its soul. Every other story of 2001, just like the recount with which it began, became a footnote.


JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

Up

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09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
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04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
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03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
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01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
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08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
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04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
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11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
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07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
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06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings