During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp" in Washington. Unfortunately, that was a lie. What he has done is head the most corrupt administration in modern American history.
Here's what Dan Rather has to say about it:
"No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community." - Theodore Roosevelt
As a citizen, I detest the stench of corruption. As a journalist, I know corruption makes for very fertile investigative reporting. And as a student of history, I have learned that corruption often lays waste to the powerful.
That is why I am stunned by what is taking place today. Over the course of my life I have never seen a level of corruption in the United States equal to that emanating from the Trump Administration. It is the ultimate threat to effective governance. It is morally repugnant and a repudiation of the very ideals of our democracy. It is the rot of power for sale.
Of all the current dangers to the norms of our democracy, and there are many, I worry most that we will become a nation that shrugs off corruption as business as usual. This is not to say that we haven't had corruption in the past. But one thing that has marked this country from others is that, especially at the highest levels of government, our corruption (and our tolerance for it) has been comparatively very low.
The corruption that has already been proven is staggering. But with the latest revelations around slush funds, the money passing through Trump properties, this bizarre story of a "dirty ops" campaign against Obama Administration officials, the daily Pruitt perfidy (and so, so, so much more) one has a sense that we are seeing but the tip of the corruption iceberg. I have long felt that one reason why our global competitors and adversaries like China and Russia would falter was that the corruption that pulsates through their political systems is ultimately destabilizing. And now we are following down that same dangerous path.
I hear many on air and on line invoke President Trump's promise to "drain the swamp" to mark his rank hypocrisy. But I suggest that those who care about this issue drop the "swamp" metaphor as a reference. It is too cute, too passive, and too esoteric for what is going on. This is about hardworking, law-abiding Americans being played for suckers. This is about the very idea of honest government becoming just another partisan divide. There are already many worrisome signs that this mindset is seeping into the candidacies of those seeking lower office.
In the end, however, I trust the American people will not sit idly by and allow the fleecing of their country to take place without a reckoning at the ballot box, and likely in the halls of justice.