The Treason of the Senate

By David Graham Phillips | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
Confusing the People

THESE articles have been attacked, but their facts--the facts of the treason of the Senate, taken from the records--have not been attacked. Abuse is not refutation; it is confession. New to this democratic republic, and more than suspicious, is the doctrine that the people must not be shown the public records of their public servants; that the people may not learn how the "merged" senators, with Joe Cannon's "merged" House concurring, license and protect the "high financiers" in piling up vast fortunes for the few and in multiplying for the many the difficulties of getting a livelihood and a competence; that the people must not be told how the Senate has never moved to use its ample Constitutional powers to protect the people until public anger compelled; how it has then merely passed some deliberately ineffective measure, like the Cullom interstate commerce act of 1887; and how, by killing reciprocity treaties and by injecting robber schedules into tariff laws, it has penned the people in from even such slight relief as might have come from abroad.

A great deal is said by apologists for treason about there being nothing "constructive" in exposing public corruption. If trying to bring it about that only men of character can get public honors, if trying to make it impossible for tricksters and traitors to live in our public life--if these objects are not "constructive," then what does the word mean? Are only lying speech and perfidious act "constructive"? The exposed cry out that these exposures endanger the Republic. What a ludicrous inversion--the burglar shouting that the house is falling because he is being ejected from it! The Republic is not in danger; it is its enemies that are in danger. The treason of the Senate is a disease to be cured; but it is a disease of the skin, not of the bones.

We have noted the "merger" of the two national political machines, and have watched it in operation, its Republicans and its Democrats playing into one another's hands. We have examined the records of its leaders. We have seen that they, the avowed chief men of the two political parties, the chosen arrangers of campaigns and legislative programmes, are of, by, and for "the interests." We have seen, beneath the dust of senatorial debates, measures in the popular interest maimed or assassinated, so-called Democrats coöperating with so-called Republicans, each crowd of the sham battlers wearing an angry front toward the other--to fool and confuse the people.

The fact that these leaders are obeyed, are followed, is in itself proof of the charac-

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