The only thing worse than having to keep your roof in good repair is not keeping it in good repair.

If you’ve ever seen a derelict building, sagging in the process of a slow-motion collapse, you were probably looking at the evidence of a roof breach. Once water gets into a structure, the deterioration is swift and can become irreversible. Infiltrating water is subtle but relentless. If you want a good metaphor for corruption, think water damage.

Any reader of news or student of history has also noticed that every country everywhere has had to battle corruption. It is evidently an intrinsic weakness of human nature, and of every government system ever invented. But three things we know.

We know that some systems are more vulnerable to it than others. In an open, healthy, egalitarian society, there is generally less danger of corruption because all citizens feel engaged and empowered and invested in a lawful, clean government.

We know how corruption, like water damage, will eventually eat away and collapse the structural supports of a functioning government.

We know that once the safeguards are breached and the damage gets started, it is vastly harder to deal with. The phase “everybody does it” is the sign that the rot is taking hold.

And here we are. That drip, drip, drip you hear is the precursor of rot begun and rot to come. You may not be able to see exactly where the corruption is in this administration, and that is, in fact, part of the problem. So much is deliberately hidden from your view. But you don’t have to know exactly where the water is running inside your walls to know it’s doing damage — and that the damage will become entrenched, and eventually permanent.

No, you don’t want to think about it, because it’s depressing. But there are two types of people and societies. The kind that put their heads under the pillow and try to not listen, and the kind that get up and call a reputable roofer.