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Draining Toxic Lake Okeechobee – Florida – USA
Photo Credit: The Weather Channel (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Metaphors are important tools in a writer’s word-box. “Draining the swamp” is a powerful metaphor put to excellent use by our President-elect during his campaign for our nation’s top post. He has promised to rid our government of entrenched cronies who only serve their own self-interests and those of their masters and facilitators. We-the-people can drown in the swamp for all they care.

As our President-elect begins draining the swamp, he has skimmed only the surface scum and dead leaves and, based on his latest selections for his cabinet and other top administration posts, has made room for more toxic detritus.

The swamp extends across America. In some places, it’s dense and putrid with the carcasses upon which we have built our nation. Are we ready to drain the swamp? Some among us want to make America white again. When was that? Was that after we had decimated the Native Indian populations who inhabited these lands thousands of years before the white man’s arrival? Their carcasses rest at the bottom of the swamp.


Wounded Knee Massacre – North Dakota – December 29, 1890
Photo Credit: Wikipedia


What about the African slaves and their descendants whose forced labor built this nation? Their carcasses form another layer in the bottom of the swamp.


Lynching of African American in Omaha – Nebraska – 1919
Photo Credit: Daily Kos


What about the successive waves of black, brown, white, and yellow immigrants who labored under inhumane conditions to fuel our industrial revolution? Their carcasses intermingle below the surface of the swamp.


Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire – New York City – March 25, 1911
Photo Credit: NYU/STERN Center for Business & Human Rights


It’s easy to skim the surface of the swamp of toxic algae and decaying vegetation. Are we ready to go deeper? Are we ready to drain the swamp?

Are we ready to face our barbarity and callousness towards those we have deemed a threat, worthless, inferior, or dispensable?

Are we ready to ratify that all men and women are created equal and deserve the same treatment and opportunities for their growth and prosperity?

Are we ready to let go of our selfish desires and work together to save ourselves from becoming yet another layer of the swamp?

Draining the swamp will be tough and soul-searching work. It will test the human capacity for openness, forgiveness, sharing, kindness, compassion, and love. It will require a collective effort.

Are you ready to join me in draining the swamp?