A Scandal is a Storm With a Voracious Appetite

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Stir a
Scandal and it only gets bigger.  One
misdeed grows larger, getting energy from opposing forces, until it becomes a
storm of increasing destructive strength sweeping over a wider area, changing
the landscape forever.  And yet, in spite
of all the debris and obvious evidence, there is denial that the storm ever
existed, or if it did exist, the claims are made that it did no damage.

A political storm is not about a politician
being open and honest with constituents.
It is about truth management.  First,
is it necessary to tell the truth? How much truth should be told?  Who needs to know and why?  If the truth comes out will it destroy the
power base or the sources of income? To what extent should the sources of truth
be stopped?

A politician
is not one person, but the figurehead of an organization.   That organization has spent time and money building
an image, lifting the politician to a position of power.  Unscrupulous members might be assigned the
chores of keeping bad news or truths hidden.
Small scandals can be countered with lies or money. Large scandals might
require more drastic measures.  And the
politicians themselves might never know how the scandal is handled.  A scandal is a storm with a voracious
appetite, springing up suddenly, and out of control.  Such is the story of Any Mann.

Any Mann
began as a small town candidate running for a small office.  He kissed babies, became a member of the
school board, the county water district, the city council, and quietly began
building his resume.  He had help, of
course, from an organization that saw his potential.  He wasn’t particularly bright, but he was
handsome and well groomed, did and said what he was told, smiled a lot, and had
a clean record.  He was a near perfect
candidate and the organization could build a power base around him.

He was elected to the state assembly on the
first try, not because he was so great but because the organization easily outspent
his opponent.  After three terms Any was
elected to Congress and gradually worked his way onto powerful committees.  Those who had supported him throughout his
career now began asking him for favors as a way of repaying their investments. The
requests were harmless at first, but the demands became increasingly bold, and
were hard to put into bills without public exposure.

pressures on Any were growing and he began taking prescription drugs to ease
his stress.  His political strength was building
and he was becoming a name across the country.

He returned
to his home town for a Mother’s Day celebration.  His sister, brother and selected friends
joined him.  They partied hardy.   Any relaxed
and was glad to be away from the pressures of Washington although he still had
his bodyguards. Sometime in the evening drinking and drugs mixed.   Any at first appeared normal but soon he was
out of control.  He found his sister,
Patti, asleep in another room.  After a
brief struggle he overpowered and raped her.

As morning
neared he came to his senses and became afraid.
“Get out! This is your fault!  You’re
trying to ruin me!”  He shoved her out of
the room.  “I don’t ever want to see you

Their older
brother was awakened by the commotion and found Patti sobbing inconsolably, curled
in a fetal position.  After a few minutes
he asked gently, “What happened?” Patti ‘s eyes widened.  “I can’t tell you,” she sobbed.  “You have to,” he insisted.

“Any raped me,” she blurted. He held her hand,
gradually comprehending the gravity of the situation.  He hugged her and said, “Everything will be
all right.  After I find Any I’m taking
you to the hospital.”

He found Any
outside the house, talking with a bodyguard.
He walked up to Any and asked bluntly, “Patti’s our sister. Why did you
rape her?”

“Don’t be
taking her side when you don’t even know what happened! I knew she’d say
something like that.  She’s a tramp!”

Before Any
could say anything more, he was knocked down. His brother stated, “I should
kill you but after I take Patti to the hospital, I’m holding a news conference
and telling the nation just what kind of jerk you are.”

He spun about and marched out.  Any turned to the bodyguard.  “I guess it’s all over.”

bodyguard was on his cell phone immediately.
After a few seconds he said, “Go get in my car and wait there.  Don’t talk to anybody. The big boss says hang
tight.  We’ll handle this crisis before
it gets out of control.”

“What do you

“This is not
the time to ask questions, sir.  Just
follow directions.  Everything is already
put into motion.”

Any saw his
brother and sister drive away in his government issued sedan. He put his head
into his hands. “What is going on?  I can’t
believe that I’ve screwed up my life.”

In his
anguish he missed the following scene. A gray car pulled out and followed the
sedan at a respectable distance.  A few
blocks away at a stoplight the gray car suddenly pulled up alongside the sedan.  Several guns fired simultaneously.  The sedan lurched forward and crashed into a

The gray car
sped away.

Within the
hour a news bulletin was issued.  “This
afternoon at 1 p.m. an attempted assassination on Congressman Any Mann was
made.  His driver, brother and sister were
killed by unknown gunmen.  By a lucky
circumstance Any had been called away to an emergency meeting and was not in
the car.  Our government has just issued
a High Alert until the gunmen can be found.”

resulting publicity and the way Any handled himself over the next few months
raised his ratings in the polls.  He
became a presidential candidate and insiders said he had the best chance of

But there
were rumors that kept bubbling up and damaging Any’s image. Did someone have a
video showing Any and his brother fighting?
Could that bruise on his cheek be explained?   Did
someone actually have a tape of Patti’s dying words?  Attempts were made to squelch each and every
rumor but that only made the rumors spread.
Did Any order his brother and sister killed?  Should such a man be elected to the White

It wasn’t
long before the other congressmen considered Any a liability and began
distancing themselves.  They didn’t want
to go down with his ship.  Finally the
organization behind him cut all ties.  “You
can’t do this,” he stated. “I didn’t order my brother and sister killed.”

Within the
hour a new bulletin was issued.  “This
afternoon Congressman Any  Mann was found
dead in his office.  A note was found
beside his body.  Any had been described
as despondent by several of his close friends. A memorial will be held.”

The storm
was over and all was quiet.  The
organization was busy, however, looking for a new candidate, someone they could
package and sell.  It was not about
finding the best person for the job.  It
was simply a matter of merchandizing magic.
Tell the people what they want and then convince them that their desires
were granted.  Anything can happen in the
land where dreams come true.

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