The Spreading Swamp

It’s not human waste I mentioned that’s raining on the swamp: It’s really just more male cow waste.

■ Bob Franken / Columnist

It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but apparently it is: You can’t drain the Washington “swamp” by dumping human waste all over it. That only makes the swamp more of a cesspool, which it already has been for a long, long time.
Not that this is necessarily a profound thought, although most put it a bit more elegantly. Many others contend that Donald Trump, who made the “Drain the Swamp” mantra part of his campaign patter, has in fact made it deeper and sloppier.
The Washington swamp is populated by creepy-crawly politicians, lobbyists, lawyers, bureaucrats, media types and other snakes who care little about effective government and mostly about self-enrichment. They thrive largely because they know each other. So give Trump a little credit, because he at least identified a real shortcoming here. Of course, he comes from another, bigger swamp. The difference is that the dealmakers in New York City are nastier.
If you look past all the Trump personality defects, we see a man who has surrounded himself with calculated malefactors who actually want to make the nation worse. They include the ones who have persuaded him to successfully resist climate policies that would save the planet and to seek healthcare changes that would leave millions of people unprotected when medical problems inevitably strike them. They also are busy putting together a tax package that will mainly benefit their superwealthy buddies. And they have pursued hateful immigration policies in the name of an “America First” dogma that has historically sinister overtones.
The fragile prestige that the United States has accumulated in the world over generations of ups and downs is quickly sinking into the quicksand. Progress in so many areas is being reversed or threatened in the name of MAGA — Make America Great Again. That “again” refers back to a time when things were simpler because they were more oppressive to minorities, women and those in the LGBT coalition. In other words, they were great for straight white men.
It’s hard to keep up with the societal damage they want to foist on us because we’re constantly distracted by the ridiculous behavior of the man leading this parade from the bottom. The only reason this unintentional camouflage hasn’t been more successful in hiding their regressive intentions is that the Trumpsters have been so heavy-handed about them that they’ve ended up in disaster or in the courts. Or they’ve been exposed by the media that Trump and his crew loudly hate. Or they have been administered by a bizarre cast of characters.
Jeff Sessions, who could do only limited harm on the margins as the ultra-conservative senator from Alabama, is now where he can make his antagonism toward civil rights a reality. Some characters who have popped up are gone — Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer. But others remain, like Kellyanne Conway, chief apologist, and the nepots Ivanka and Jared.
Donald Trump won office by tapping into the disgust voters felt about the slime that oozes from our nation’s capital. The reality is that he and his administration aim to make it much worse. He conceals his muck by being the consummate showman. It’s not human waste I mentioned that’s raining on the swamp: It’s really just more male cow waste.

© 2017 Bob Franken

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