Is Martha Stewart a potential criminal or a Mother of Vigilance?
Did she violate the law of the land, or did she create millions of
warm, friendly homes for people to enjoy each others' company?
Is Martha a criminal or a victim? See if you agree that
Martha Stewart, despite all the charges against her, is a Sentinel of
10, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 636
The Beast Of Terror vs. Martha
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, New York--June 10,
2003-- Martha Stewart is battling the Beast of Terror. He
just breathed nine federal counts down the diva-of-homemaking's neck, and
is rattling the 61-year-old Stewart's media foundations, shattering
into shards her house of glass. He's doing a great job so far of
slinging Terror her way.
arrives for her arraignment
Stewart, in prime form, is
fighting back. In fact, she might even win the battle if not the
way, if her defense
includes her ability to be America's Sentinel of Family Vigilance.
Terrorism, composed of the triad of
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, isn't driving Martha Stewart to
her knees causing her to seek the mercy of the court. Quite the contrary.
Instead of accepting a plea bargain, or negotiating a "deal" so she
can go on with her life, Stewart is standing up to the Beast of
Terror. She's using what some might call her Personal Sword of Vigilance
to fight the Beast of Terror's charges.
Some call her courageous for not
buckling to the pounding hammers of the federal government who slapped
enough charges against her that if convicted on all of them, her
sentence could result in 30 years in jail plus a $2 million dollars in
Others call her egotistical and stubborn
for fighting for innocence. She is charged with a battery of
potential crimes, including obstruction of justice. Her
supporters claim she is being prosecuted because she is a successful
woman in a man's world. Other's say she is egging on the
government by refusing to accept her part of the "guilt."
Public relations pundits propose that had
she immediately accepted her part in the alleged
insider trading, and sought the mercy of the courts, she would have
rebounded and been like most divas caught in a whirlwind of financial
scrambling--back on her feet.
is a high profile woman in a man's world
But, her own sense
of personal Vigilance--the composition of one's Courage, Conviction
and Right Actions--have guided her to take up a club and attack her
accusers, claiming she did no wrong and that she's innocent of the
I am torn.
Part of me sees Martha Stewart as a tough
business woman with little tact in "sucking up" to others, and, as a
result, able to create a multitude of "enemies" who believe that those
who "live by the sword, die by the sword."
I also see Stewart as the focus of an ego battle
between the government and a successful woman who happened to appear
on the government's radar after major scandals such as Enron and
WorldCom. In those cases top executives slipped away with what most
might call minor hand slaps considering the millions they bilked from
unsuspecting investors. Stewart's untimely exposure to the
the government stiffen its back and throw all its weight into "making
an example of this brash top executive" whose nature is to defy
everyone on her road to success.
nine-count indictment (see link),
charges against Stewart and her stock broker, Peter Bacanovic,
one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statement to
government investigators, one count of obstruction of justice and one
count of securities fraud.
Sticking to her "not-guilty-guns" increases
the odds of Stewart losing if she goes to trial. Mark H.
Allenbaugh, a FindLaw columnist, reported on CNN.com last week statistics that favor the government convicting Stewart
if she goes to trial rather than kowtow to the government's charges.
Martha Stewart doesn't seem to stand a chance if she goes to trial
noted that in the year 2000, 447 federal criminal fraud trails were
held. Of these, he notes, 362 (or 81 percent) resulted in
guilty verdicts. The remaining 85 (19 percent)
resulted in either a mistrial or not-guilty verdict. In
case of a mistrial, the government can opt to retry the defendant.
Allenbaugh doesn't think Stewart has much of
a chance of beating the charges if she goes to trial.
In other words, if Stewart continues
on her "stubborn, defiance tack," she'll end up in a squall, and her
ship will more than likely be sunk in the storm.
But, to her loyal fans, Stewart is a Sentinel of
Recently, she launched a website,
It includes a letter to her supporters and her critics defending
her innocence. The site also hosts emails from thousands
of her fans who believe in her credibility and veracity.
her dogs Paw Paw and Tatu
One email I read was from a single father who used Martha Stewart's
information to help raise his son. He employed her techniques of
homemaking to enrich his ability as a single parent to plus his son's
upbringing by adding the "feminine touch." He applied Stewart's
techniques of homemaking, design and decoration. It was a moving
message of a man who walked in Stewart's shadow, and how proud he was
that his son grew into an enriched person, in part because of
Stewart's ability to compliment the single man's ability to parent.
Of course, the law doesn't look at
one's past when it indicts against an alleged crime. It looks at
the actions of the individual accused of breaking the law--such as
getting a tip about a stock's troubles from an insider and then
dumping it, and then allegedly trying to cover up the crime by
changing records and conspiring with others to alter history.
As a Parent of Vigilance, I skew my
opinion toward the impact Martha Stewart has had on the
public--especially, the children--rather on what might appear to be
less of a crime and more of a scramble to keep a few hard-earned bucks.
Unlike most Wall Street criminals, Stewart was trying to protect her
own investment rather than abuse those of others. She was
"mothering" her money, not kidnapping and raping, pillaging and
plundering others' money as so many Wall Streeters have done.
To me, this throws Martha Stewart in
another category: The Mother of Financial Vigilance arena.
It also means her background as a
contributor rather than a thief to society should be examined.
was a homemaker role model
demonstrated to homemakers their castles could shine
In a world where women
have exited the home to the workplace, and latchkey children have
taken a firm hold on the land, Martha Stewart's homemaker role model
shouted that it was
"O.K." to be a domestic diva. In her own way, she
carved a niche as Sentinel of Domestic Vigilance, and, in the process,
made the home safer for millions of children Terrorized by fast-food,
television baby sitters, and non-domestic mothers.
Stewart, a successful businesswoman,
brought the American woman's attention back to making a "house a
home." She rejustified the idea that a warm,
friendly household made the castle shine without a loss of a woman's
independence or her feminine rights.
There is little doubt that the
millions of Martha Stewart fans, both men and women, throughout
America and around the world, used her knowledge and experience to
enrich the idea of family unity. For this alone, she should be
put in a total different category than her Wall Street mafia buddies
whose acts ripped out the financial security of millions of families.
"The family that bakes cookies
together stays together."
Ironically, Stewart sacrificed her
own family to extol the virtues of being a homemaker.
Critics of her business techniques paint her as cold and
self-centered, brash and rash, and often vitriolic if things weren't
perfect. Even if true, the bigger goal of creating an image of
the successful woman as a homemaker as well as tycoon, offset
her character defects.
Martha, Cybil Shepherd says: "Martha is a survivor and so am
My wife and I
watched the recent television movie, Martha, starring Cybill
Shepherd. I found it fascinating because I realized under
all the thick-skinned desire for success, Martha Stewart was driven by
the passion to improve the quality of life in homes all over the land.
Domestication had become a dirty word
in many camps of America, and throughout the industrialized world,
prior to Stewart's rise to stardom as the "domestic diva."
The image of mothers "slaving over the stove" was demeaning for many women, and,
the idea of "cooking" or "decorating" or "themes" within the home
seemed antediluvian to armies of woman. It was a throwback to "grandma
days" rather than an evolution
of the "liberated woman" whose world centered around the microwave and
Martha Stewart single-handedly changed all that.
Like the first woman to climb Mt.
Everest, she tossed off all baggage that got in her way on her climb
to the summit. Rather than carving out an elitist niche
with Saks Fifth Ave, she went to the heartland of America, K-Mart, and
attached her name to products the average homemaker bought.
She insisted on quality with her name, and demanded certain upgrades
such as the twill in sheets be increased so the sheets carrying her
name would be softer.
She was thinking of a mother or child
or family sleeping on softer sheets. To me, this is a
small act of Family Vigilance, not the action of some greed monger out to
corrupt America, or take advantage of others' life savings.
Martha Stewart should teach the prosecutors cookie making
Stewarts' attention to a bed sheet doesn't exonerate her from any
but it does suggest the priority of the government to
"criminalize her" actions may be way out of perspective
versus multitudes of other "corporate bandits" who raped, pillaged and
plundered the life savings of countless stockholders.
It's not my business to gauge
Martha Stewarts' guilt or innocence. But, as a Sentinel of
Family Vigilance, I think Martha Stewart has done more for America,
and the American family than any commission of crimes alleged
by the government. Her best defense would be self defense,
for she was only trying to protect what was hers, as any mother would.
Then there are her character witnesses.
Tens of thousands of families across this land owe a better domestic
life to Martha Stewart. She increased their Family Equity,
enriched their Family Stock Portfolio by helping bring domestication
back to the living room.
Accused of trying to "make a buck"
from information and then lying about is one thing, but then there is
another. It's the good she has done for millions.
She redefined the importance of
homemaking. She brought mothers and fathers and children back
together in the center of the living room, in the kitchen, and at
She didn't steal anything.
She gave a whole lot.
She was and is a Sentinel of
But, if there is a penalty for her
crimes--that is, if she is convicted--her penance should be teaching
government prosecutors how to bake cookies with their families.
It might help the federal prosecutors rework their recipe of
Terrorizing the domestic divas, and give them a thirst for going after
the true criminals, the ones who rob society rather than bolster its
June 9--Terror Tactics in Tennis,
Cycling and Among Schoolgirls
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