PUBLIC, STUNNED, GIVES UP
"Bribery [campaign contribution] is no mere felony. It's
treason. It's systematic. That =is= the way it is done.
Bribery and corruption is a process of revolution, to make
a democratic government represent, not the people, but a
part, the worse part, of the people."
-- *The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens*
"There had been a burst, a volcanic eruption, of 'steals' and
'jobs,' all in the administration of Mayor Ashbridge. I asked
how they had dared do such a wild, wholesale business in such a
short time. I was really puzzled and wanted only to understand
the politics; technically it looked like bad politics."
"You could put over one of those steals in New York or anywhere
else, but one would be enough to strain any machine I know of.
And five or -- more!"
"'We reasoned,' he answered, 'we agreed among ourselves that it
was exactly the five or -- more that would save us. If we did
any of these things alone the papers and the public would
concentrate on it, get the facts, and fight. But we reasoned
that if we poured them all out fast and furious, one, two, three
-- one after the other -- the papers couldn't handle them all and
the public would be stunned and -- give up. Too much.'"
"I was stunned. 'Well, you Pennsylvania politicians know
something even Tammany [Hall] doesn't know.'"
"He nodded. 'Yes,' he said. 'We know a lot they don't know. We
know that public despair is possible and that that is good
[Excerpts from *The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens*]
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
For related stories, visit: