Photo: Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Greek myth of the Augean Stables has rarely been more pertinent than today. In penance for his sins, the Greek hero Hercules (Heracles in original Greek) was ordered to scour the stables in which King Augeas kept 3,000 herd of cattle and which had not been cleaned in 30 years. The Labor was accomplished by diverting the river Alpheus through the structure, in itself no mean feat, even for a mythological hero.
The slogan “drain the swamp,” restored to our political discourse by Donald Trump, serves as the contemporary description and political purpose of the Herculean Labor undertaken by the former president, the nemesis of the fetid Washington quagmire. Regrettably, Trump had less luck than Hercules, but his attempt was no less heroic. Three-thousand oxen are nothing compared to the uncountable and unaccountable swamp dwellers thronging the offices, precincts, fields, and fens of American politics, and 30 years is an eyeblink in the history of political and moral corruption. Even Hercules might have quailed before the task, realizing that diverting the Potomac through the halls of power would have amounted to a mere trickle, by comparison, leaving the offal intact.
Something in the magnitude of Noah’s Flood would be needed to rinse and fumigate the grime and crud and sewage that has accumulated over the generations of grift and venality in the realms of authority, possibly never more feculent than at present under the reprobate administration of Joe Biden, a lawless DOJ, an unscrupulous FBI, a weaponized IRS, a tainted NIH, NIAID, and CDC, all operating in the debauched atmosphere of corporate socialism and generally associated with banana republics.
Nonetheless, some sort of housecleaning must be attempted, which may at least leave two or three stalls of the Washington Stables in reasonably decent shape, and Donald Trump is the only protagonist on the scene who is capable of performing even so truncated a mission. The objective is clear. MAGA Republicans must capture House and Senate. Biden will have to be impeached. The marsh of Democrat imbeciles and embarrassments who desecrate every department and agency must be disciplined or sent packing. Rogue civil service bureaucrats must be purged en masse via Schedule F. The military must once more be set upon its proper foundation as a fighting force second to none rather than a community center for intersectional clowns and incompetents.
Obviously, there are discrepancies in the analogy. Trump, for example, was not, like Hercules, punished for his sins, but undertook his Labor voluntarily. He was beholden neither to the gods nor subject to some Eurysthean wager. Neither would his quest be guaranteed of success. He might be defeated — arrested on false accusations, or worse — or otherwise thwarted by a vast machinery of special interests, Party traitors, an army of media sutlers and assorted public mercenaries, and a thick emulsion of establishment cronies and powerful adversaries resistant to political antiseptic.
But the effort must be undertaken, and Trump is the one to do it. His first sortie was an unexpected, if partial, success. He has now learned the extent of the stables and the enormous quantities of manure he has to deal with. Hercules was assigned Twelve Labors, but it is the Fifth that requires attention. The stables are rank and must be hosed out, so far as possible. But the task is immense, and I can’t see anyone else who has the thews and the gumption capable of mounting so prodigious an operation that even the gods might have spared him.