Oh, yeah, that swamp-draining thing! Progress report: What President Trump meant by “swamp” was trained professionals, scientists, ethical people and anyone smarter than him (everyone).
And who knew that he also meant that when the talent, brains and morality were drained away, the swamp would be systematically refilled by nepotism, cronyism, emoluments and lobbyists for the worst forms of environmental and climate destruction?
Washington certainly feels swampier these days, as incessant and uncharacteristic rain all year has made the ground underfoot nearly as saturated as the normally soggy air above. This beleaguering wetness might or might not be yet one more symptom of climate change, but if not, give it time. Supersaturation or sunbaked-brick-dry seem to be the two choices on offer in our new climate. And no, averaging these two conditions doesn’t count. Flooding after fire does not put things back to normal.
What counts as good weather now is a disaster that could have been even worse. But just because the roof didn’t blow off doesn’t mean that the basement isn’t full of water. And just as a rotting foundation will eventually collapse under a building, our climate policies will bring us down sooner or later. The quiet but relentless network of interest groups that have seeped into structural walls in Washington is doing fatal damage, day after day. Trump is never going to drain this. He has put a running hose in through the basement window.
Everybody knows all this. The energy companies know it. Republicans in Congress know it (a few GOP voters are still stuck on last year’s memo that it’s all a hoax). But the profits and campaign money from dirty energy are just so good. Everybody in this game is just waiting for someone to finally say that the party is over.
We’d better say it soon.