A Fly in the Ointment


Could you kill someone if it meant everlasting power and money for yourself and generations of heirs? Maybe not, I doubt I could. Do you know of anyone who might be able to? Again, maybe you don’t actually know someone personally you believe to be this sinister, but I would be willing to bet you could envision such a character. Unfortunately I do know someone who killed for money, a measly few hundred thousand dollars - and he is in prison for having done it. Some never get caught.

Could you agree that it is not out of the realm of possibility that powerful people might be willing to murder for the sake of their own power, position and wealth? Would they just sit back and hope that the enemy just stopped interfering, died of natural causes, or was killed by someone else? Or would they more likely hire a professional eliminator to remove the obstacle in their path? In 1911, there was soon-to-be unfortunate writer who was very vociferous about the goings on in the senate and the financial treason about to be committed by the power brokers.

David Graham Phillips was a writer of fictional novels in the early 20th century who wrote almost exclusively about corruption and greed, political power and influence, treachery and treason. He would weave these ideas into fictional novels. He’d hoped that his readers would get the idea of what he was revealing between the lines of his pages. He believed government was being taken over from the inside in the early 1900’s. His novels reflected his political views. Some powerful people didn’t appreciate him very much, but he went largely unnoticed.

Though he was well respected in his day, he was frustrated. He couldn’t get anyone to take his novels seriously enough to act on what he felt was treasonous behavior in our United States Congress. Finally, in 1906, he was commissioned by Cosmopolitan Magazine, (at the time a real news periodical) to write an expose on the Senate. He did. It was called “The Treason of the Senate”.

Some senators didn’t like being called traitors (imagine that), and so they voiced their anger. President Theodore Roosevelt singled out this writer as one of the “muckrakers” who slung muck about for no particular purpose. We don’t really know how Teddy felt about the charges, but we do know he didn’t really trust his own senate all that much. If there is anything he disliked almost as much as a corrupt senator, it was a writer who exposed it. He didn’t appreciate anyone else tearing them up – so he used the term “Muckrakers”, and this writer was one of several, in fact it is said, he was the most prominent.

In the “Treason of the Senate”, names were named, senators, congressmen, and robber barons. Those people had the kind of power only money can buy. Like most of us, they wanted even more and so were not amused when someone interfered. Unlike us, they could almost always do something about unwanted interference.

Next: The Murder of David Graham Phillips