With his reelction in the bag, the bug in Mayor John Street’s office is old news. As the story goes, it was found by accident during a routine office check by Philadelphia police. The bug appears to have been placed there as part of a federal criminal investigation into possible City Hall corruption.
The FBI assures us that placing the bug around election time wasn’t intentional. I have even read that the investigation was planned to go on for a while yet, and that the feds are scrambling to finish a project that went public prematurely. That may even yet turn out to be true.
However, it should be no surprise if the public, even those in the suburbs, finds the bug’s timing suspicious. Maybe 40 years ago the FBI claim that the timing of the bug was non-political would be accepted, but not now.
Remember Watergate? Does anyone even remember “Koreagate” or “Abscam”? Is it possible that the American public reached the point where we no longer trust the government? We have become so jaded and cynical about politics that we now trust nothing at all. The timing of the bug’s discovery is suspicious, so who will believe the corruption investigation was justified in the first place?
In his decades of public service, Mayor Street has avoided anything smelling of criminal conduct. Perhaps Street was never the investigation’s target in the first place, but someone else in city government. We will surely learn more than we know now about the specifics of the bug’s placement in the future. Maybe it is all even just an amazing coincidence.
But you have to wonder about it. The lies coming out of Washington D.C. have become so thick in recent years that the federal government doesn’t have the same credibility it did back when my parents were young. I cannot accept that we, the American public, are not harmed when lied to. When do the lies stop? What happens when the lies are so obviously lies?
I invite you to recall President Bush landing on the aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln, when he stood in front of a banner saying “Mission Accomplished” and declared the end of combat operations in Iraq. But then Bush claimed a few weeks back he had nothing to do with the sign and that the crew placed it there.
OK, let’s think about this. You remember the event, the news that the Abraham Lincoln turned away from land in order to improve the lighting for the President’s televised speech. But Bush claims the large banner he stood in front of had nothing to do with him. Too bad for him that U.S. Navy officials admitted the Abraham Lincoln got the banner from the White House, as much as two inanimate objects can be said to pass something from one to the other.
Well, this is the same branch of government that authorized the bug, isn’t it? Who can we believe these days? Good information is our best defense, but we need to ask that our elected leaders tell us the truth. Not only that, we must demand they do. I tell my kids to tell me the truth, even if it is tough for them to do, because I need to know I can count on them not to lie. I think we should be able to ask the same of our elected representatives.
William Lodge can be reached at Wtl1959@aol.com.