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Let's talk about "Swamps" for a minute

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posted on Jan, 22 2021 @ 08:35 AM
Something occurred to me a few moments ago and I thought it might be good to share. It's an analogy of sorts about the proverbial "swamp" that American politics (and even international politics) has become.

About 30 years ago I was working for a large earthwork and underground utilities company. The work we did was not residential by any means, but large industrial and infrastructure work (using "big iron" if you know what that term means).

One of my projects at time was for Chrysler corporation at one of their plants. The job was to install about 3 miles of 24" sanitary sewer line and tie it into a 60" sanitary 'force main' which was actually in an adjacent County. Even worse was the fact that this new sewer line was DEEP (about 35 feet below grade). To get a big line that deep in the ground required some serious heavy equipment and the first month was dedicated to excavating a series of steps down to about 20 feet below grade. This involved big bulldozers and lots of 'scrapers'. Once we had done all the mass excavation only then could we start digging down to the actual depth of the new sewer line. But, I digress.

At the very far end of this new sewer line was a soft area which was very muddy. It was a 'swamp', complete with standing water, cat tails and the whole bit. The swamp we had to cross was about 600 yards wide. None of our equipment could stay up on top of the ground. The minute we'd take a bulldozer or something down there it would get stuck in the muck instantly. It was impenetrable, the swamp.

We tried all sorts of things to get across this area, but nothing worked. We tried bridging over the top of it with large rocks in an attempt to "choke" the mud into something more stable, and numerous other things. Nothing worked. We'd moved millions of cubic yards of dirt getting to this spot, but this one obstacle was unimaginably difficult.

Every day I would come home from work just dog tired having spent the day getting numerous pieces of heavy equipment unstuck from the mud (and if you've ever tried this you'll know what I'm talking about). It was just a constant unrelenting battle. Time for a new plan.

We found a company who did what they call 'de-watering' and these guys claimed they could "drain the swamp". I remember standing there with their superintendent discussing their plan and how they were going to do it. Their plan was to punch about (50) mini-wells all around the area and connect all these wells together using a series of pipes all hooked to this massive pump which would suck the water out of the swamp and basically lower the water table in the area. I can remember looking around and thinking there was no way this plan was going to work, but we had to try to do something, anything, and I didn't have a better plan so this was it.

The company came in and drilled all their wells and hooked this whole monstrosity up. When they fired the whole thing up, sure enough, water started to be pumped out...a LOT of it! This system pumped water for weeks and weeks into a nearby stream. The stream turned into a small river from all the water we were pumping. The de-watering company had said we'd need to leave this system in for a set number of weeks. After this time, if the swamp hadn't been drained by then, the effort to continue would be futile. And, it turned out, this was exactly what happened. There was just more water coming in than we could pump out. The effort was a giant failure and a waste of a whole lot of money.

At the end of the day, the effort wasn't really about the water at all. The real goal was to dry the area out enough so we could get our equipment in and dig this sewer line across it, and you simply can not dig in mud.

This story is very much like our current political "swamp" today. In fact, it's almost a direct analogy to our current governmental situation and the "swamp". In our case the water coming into the swamp is analogous to money, and politicians are the mud. The sewer line, in this context, is any positive program for the American people. The real end-goal is to 'excavate' the corrupt politicians out of the swamp, but the money (water) flowing in is coming in faster than we can pump out. Therefore, we never really get to excavate the swamp of dirty politicians because we spend all our time dealing with the water (which is the first step in draining a swamp).

We did eventually manage to get the sewer line installed successfully, but to do so we wound up having to dig a series of smaller but deeper swamps along the way to divert the water away from where we were working at the moment. It was painful, but it worked. We also did something else in the process. As we crossed this swamp we put in a drainage system under it, so the water would drain from the area forever.

Maybe we, as a country, need to look at our "swamp" problem in a new and different way. Simply draining the "swamp" first isn't working. This much we know. Maybe now it's time to take a different approach and try to divert the "water" away from the area we're trying to work long enough to fix it properly, and then move on to the next location. Just keep repeating this process as long as it takes, and in the end, if we do it right, maybe we won't have to deal with the swamp in the future.

Just a thought.

edit on 1/22/2021 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2021 @ 08:58 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Forcing the swamp to figuratively “dry” up.

It just might have the legs 🦵

posted on Jan, 22 2021 @ 11:05 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I agree but how to do it? January 21 2010 was the day that politics changed forever.

posted on Jan, 22 2021 @ 11:46 AM
a reply to: Bunch

Wow that is interesting and I never looked at as a land problem but political, you are right I just looked up the topography of DC and yes the city is build over a swamp, once used to actually flood the white house loan, it is said that once in a while the city will get flooded from it.

posted on Jan, 23 2021 @ 11:34 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Great post. I like the idea that the swamp, in whatever metaphorical form, is a practical challenge, an obstacle to be overcome rather than a thing in itself.

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