Kin Lane

The Drain The Swamp Narrative

The phrase drain the swamp was a very triggering word for me on Facebook amongst friends and family during the 2016 election. Having grown up in a very libertarian mindset, and entering adulthood with a very anti-government view of things, but then having spent significant amount of time working in Washington D.C. with many very intelligent and passionate folks-—you can say I’ve changed my tune on what government means and how it all works. Making the very uninformed, and I’d say puppet string orchestrated anti-government goto lines like “drain the swamp”, something that really frustrates me. The powers that be love using it to rile up their uninformed base so that they can obtain the control they want in DC, to push through the changes that benefit them. Average voters who believe in it are completely blind to how it is used to control them, and I regularly see folks I know on Facebook wielding it without much consideration for the bigger picture.

While there is some variations in the meaning of “drain the swamp”, the primary view is that you are talking about removing the career bureaucrat that works in Washington D.C. Someone who has worked there “too long”, and you need to remove them because they know too much about how things work. You need to get someone new in, an outsider who doesn’t have any understanding of all the inner workings to make things better. The phrase claims to be all about shining a light on folks who’ve apparently mastered what is going on within these big bureaucratic machines, which ultimately means they are orchestrating things in their favor, and can’t be trusted with having so much power and control. I wanted to explore this concept, and see how well it holds up in other areas of our world, or is it something that is only relevant in government, or should I say in destabilizing government so a specific group of people can gain an upper hand.

Drain the swamp in the military. Those generals know too much. They have been there too long, and we need more lower ranks folks running the show. Once you have had a long career in the military, it is clear that they now know too much, and will clearly use it for doing harm. We can’t have such highly decorated folks running the show with experience going back to previous eras where wars were actually fought. We need to clearly get all of these generals and other high ranking officials out of the top ranks of the military and keep the leadership fresh and changing every year. Otherwise the US military will just continue to be a swamp.

Drain the swamp in the corporate boardroom. Those CEOs and other VPs know too much. After so many years of running those companies we definitely can’t trust them to not do what benefits them. We need more folks from the mail room and clerical pools Brough in to lead things, bringing in fresh talent to help run these global corporations. We need to clearly get all of these CEOs and other high ranking executives out of the top positions within companies and keep the leadership fresh and changing every year. Otherwise corporate America will just continue to be a swamp. (Ok, this one might be true ;-)

Drain the swamp in education. Those teachers who have been there for too long. Those professors who know too much. Clearly these educators have been in their positions too long and have accumulated not just too much knowledge, but also a mastery of their domain that is borderline dangerous. We should employ more freshman to step into leadership positions in high schools and on college campuses. Maybe even employ first graders to take up leadership positions. We need to clearly get all of these entrenched educators out of the top positions within our schools and keep the leadership fresh and changing every year. Otherwise K-12 and higher education will just continue to be a swamp.

Drain the swamp in the library. Mabel has been working at the county library since 1973, and clearly she knows too much. She has way too much knowledge about how the library operates, and too much experience operating in austere moments where the library hasn’t received adequate funding. She definitely can’t be trusted with the purchasing of books each here and coordinating the summer reading program. We need to clearly get all of career librarians out of the top ranks of the the library system and let any library card holder take a crack at running the place. Otherwise our libraries will just continue to be a swamp.

Drain the swamp on Bob’s farm. Bob has worked that farm for over 40 years. Cleary he’s been there too long. He knows how everything works on the farm and understand market shifts too well. He clearly has more experience than required and can’t be trusted with making things run on the farm to benefit him. We need to clearly get all any farmer who as been doing this for that many years out of leadership positions on the farm—let’s see how some of the hired hands and migrant works do when it comes to running things from here out.. Otherwise our farms will just continue to be a swamp.

I can keep going. My point is, why is this unique to only a certain type of government? Why is a career government worker bad, well, unless you are in the military, or maybe police force? Sure, there are bad apples in any sector, but having someone with deep knowledge of how things work does not automatically mean they are doing bad things. People are only convinced of this because they are isolated enough to actually have never personally known anyone who is passionate and knowledge within government, and there is so much money at stake in controlling or killing a particular government agency, that this narrative becomes a powerful tool to control folks. I know it is a warm and fuzzy ones for libertarians, conservatives, and even some liberals. But, it is a tired one. It is an ignorant and isolated one. Stop using it. Get out and learn what government does. Spend some time actually engaging with a government agency, or actually spend some time volunteering or doing some work on behalf of a government agency. I guarantee your views will change along the way. Not all people in government are bad, and we need people who understand how things works, otherwise government will always be manipulated by the rich and powerful.