The United States as a dam

In the midst of the Depression, a major engineering task when building the Hoover Dam (whose name also became a political issue) was what to do with the Colorado River while the dam was being built.

The untamed Colorado River was wild, powerful, and unpredictable.  Remember: carving out the Grand Canyon is on its résumé.  If you weren't able to control its flows, disastrous outcomes would result, hazardous to lives, property, and the environment.  (There – we took care of the politically correct component of this article.)

The solution of the brilliant engineers (a redundancy) was to build a series of temporary dams (cofferdams) and diversionary tunnels to hold back and control the waters of the temperamental Colorado.  While the dam was the objective, it required these interim measures of equal import to effect its construction.  Though this temporary measure was a major and necessary engineering feat by itself, it was lost in the history of the greater accomplishment of the dam it made possible.  The earthen cofferdams and cavernous tunnels were never meant to look pretty or to endure forever.

And that is where the analogy of the Hoover cofferdams pairs up with the Donald Trump candidacy.

The continuing experiment that is America and its governance is also a mean and meandering river of competing political currents and dangerous cultural swirls, prone to go out of control, to damage rather than sustain that fertile experiment. 

For too many in this political season's "conservative" establishment, it is a metaphorical lesson to be learned, even if their political science degrees had not prepared them for comprehending such technical complexities.

These establishment conservatives dream about an ideological Hoover Dam, a world governed by their conservative principles executing their conservative values, but they ignore the ravaging river beneath them that first needs to be stopped.  Disappointingly, they have shown themselves not to be up to the job.  In their interludes of power, they have shown that their actions fall far short of, or frustrating to, their words, promises, and ideals.

Donald Trump is not a Hoover Dam, with its grace and beauty.  No, he is that quintessential dirt cofferdam.  He doesn't look pretty, and he was not meant to be permanent.  But he is the necessary stop on the flood of malign forces – political corruption, cronyism, amorality – that are destroying America's culture, cohesion, history, and goodness. 

With Hillary Clinton in command, the political Colorado will run wild and dangerous, washing away the once firm embankments of governmental accountability, the rule of law, personal freedoms, a secure America, and truth.  With her, there will not ever be a Hoover Dam.

But the "Republican" NeverTrumps just can't or won't understand that.  They prefer to dream about a rhetorical Hoover Dam in the raging liberal progressive stream rather than first stop the flood with an ugly but functional cofferdam.   Or, uncomprehendingly, they would prefer to put the project in the charge of Hillary Clinton. 

Only Donald Trump in this year's crowd of wannabe engineers seems to understand that you need to first do the dirty work to contain the flood, before the more grandiose scheme of a monolithic conservative dam can be realized.  These others are more concerned about being the chief engineers rather than the unkempt, dirty-handed construction workers. 

So if you are disturbed by or fearful about the destructive waters you see enveloping you – uncontrolled borders, runaway debt, expanding terrorism, political corruption, bureaucratic oppression, deteriorating health care, weakening national security, liberal courts, depressed wages, ridiculed religiosity – do you dream about the sanguine dam of conservatism, or do you first build that cofferdam?

Yes, someday you hope to see that majestic edifice arching across the stream.  But first you need that cofferdam.

Graceless, unbecoming, maybe dirty, that cofferdam is Donald Trump.

William Campenni is a retired engineer, business owner, and Air Force fighter pilot.

In the midst of the Depression, a major engineering task when building the Hoover Dam (whose name also became a political issue) was what to do with the Colorado River while the dam was being built.

The untamed Colorado River was wild, powerful, and unpredictable.  Remember: carving out the Grand Canyon is on its résumé.  If you weren't able to control its flows, disastrous outcomes would result, hazardous to lives, property, and the environment.  (There – we took care of the politically correct component of this article.)

The solution of the brilliant engineers (a redundancy) was to build a series of temporary dams (cofferdams) and diversionary tunnels to hold back and control the waters of the temperamental Colorado.  While the dam was the objective, it required these interim measures of equal import to effect its construction.  Though this temporary measure was a major and necessary engineering feat by itself, it was lost in the history of the greater accomplishment of the dam it made possible.  The earthen cofferdams and cavernous tunnels were never meant to look pretty or to endure forever.

And that is where the analogy of the Hoover cofferdams pairs up with the Donald Trump candidacy.

The continuing experiment that is America and its governance is also a mean and meandering river of competing political currents and dangerous cultural swirls, prone to go out of control, to damage rather than sustain that fertile experiment. 

For too many in this political season's "conservative" establishment, it is a metaphorical lesson to be learned, even if their political science degrees had not prepared them for comprehending such technical complexities.

These establishment conservatives dream about an ideological Hoover Dam, a world governed by their conservative principles executing their conservative values, but they ignore the ravaging river beneath them that first needs to be stopped.  Disappointingly, they have shown themselves not to be up to the job.  In their interludes of power, they have shown that their actions fall far short of, or frustrating to, their words, promises, and ideals.

Donald Trump is not a Hoover Dam, with its grace and beauty.  No, he is that quintessential dirt cofferdam.  He doesn't look pretty, and he was not meant to be permanent.  But he is the necessary stop on the flood of malign forces – political corruption, cronyism, amorality – that are destroying America's culture, cohesion, history, and goodness. 

With Hillary Clinton in command, the political Colorado will run wild and dangerous, washing away the once firm embankments of governmental accountability, the rule of law, personal freedoms, a secure America, and truth.  With her, there will not ever be a Hoover Dam.

But the "Republican" NeverTrumps just can't or won't understand that.  They prefer to dream about a rhetorical Hoover Dam in the raging liberal progressive stream rather than first stop the flood with an ugly but functional cofferdam.   Or, uncomprehendingly, they would prefer to put the project in the charge of Hillary Clinton. 

Only Donald Trump in this year's crowd of wannabe engineers seems to understand that you need to first do the dirty work to contain the flood, before the more grandiose scheme of a monolithic conservative dam can be realized.  These others are more concerned about being the chief engineers rather than the unkempt, dirty-handed construction workers. 

So if you are disturbed by or fearful about the destructive waters you see enveloping you – uncontrolled borders, runaway debt, expanding terrorism, political corruption, bureaucratic oppression, deteriorating health care, weakening national security, liberal courts, depressed wages, ridiculed religiosity – do you dream about the sanguine dam of conservatism, or do you first build that cofferdam?

Yes, someday you hope to see that majestic edifice arching across the stream.  But first you need that cofferdam.

Graceless, unbecoming, maybe dirty, that cofferdam is Donald Trump.

William Campenni is a retired engineer, business owner, and Air Force fighter pilot.