Avoiding The Core Issue

Much has been made of both Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents and lack of visitor logs. I am not making a case of equivalency since in a sane mind apprised of the facts none exists. However, there are two commonalities which expose inadequacies in the system and they need to be addressed.

Before I get into the specifics, albeit in the interest of brevity, incompletely, I need to declare my motivation. I am an American, a progressive and a Democrat in that order. Let me expand on those starting at the end. I am a Democrat because as a progressive living in America in the late 20th and early 21st centuries the Democratic party is the only option to exercise my philosophy. Sometimes it is inadequate, but there is no viable alternative. Like most members of Congress, I am an American by fortunate accident of birth and the 14th Amendment. Unlike too many of them it actually means something to me. The bottom line is that first and foremost I care about America.

Notoriously Trump either did not maintain visitor logs at the White House or simply didn’t hand them over. In either case the net effect is the same; the American people do not know who the President of the United States was meeting with and presumably being influenced by. (That is assuming no hanky panky, which in the case of Trump may well not be a realistic expectation.) To date I have not heard of similar accusation of the Biden White House.

Next, we come to “off campus” meetings. Going back to at least FDR presidents have been known to meet with people outside the White House. Often the venue is their personal homes. Both Biden and Trump are no exceptions to that. I, like almost all Americans have no issue with that. I just want to know who they are meeting with. Trump worked out of Mar-a-Lago and Biden often works out of his Delaware home. Neither kept/keeps logs of the comings and goings. I won’t continue; the issue is too obvious.

All that said, I recognize the need for some privacy. Perhaps a non-public log can be established for highly classified meeting that officially never took place reviewable by a small handful of people with super sensitive security clearances like the gang of eight, Attorney General, Homeland Security Secretary, CIA Director, FBI Director and DNI (although historically I don’t/didn’t really trust all of them).

Now on to the even more sensitive matter of classified documents. If the recent Trump and Biden scandals proved anything it is that our current system of handling classified documents isn’t working. That is an understatement akin to saying that Wilt Chamberlain was tall.

I’m not going to spend much effort getting into the obvious false equivalency. Here is an analogy. Two cars are exceeding the speed limit. A radar cop detects both, follows them with lights flashing. One pulls over at the first safe opportunity and is both polite and cooperative with the officer. The other leads the police officer on a high-speed chase ignoring traffic lights and endangering everyone else on the road. Both were speeding…well I’ll let you take it from there.

As these events have been discussed in the media by people with real life experience regarding classified documents it appears common for classified documents to be mixed in with the personal papers of retired senior personnel only to be discovered, self-reported and turned over at a later date.

Forget Biden and Trump; a systemic problem exists and must be addressed. We need solutions, not political footballs no matter which “team” is on offense or defense in any particular instance. While we are involved in our partisan squabbles, we are avoiding addressing the larger and admittedly uncomfortable issue. This American wants it addressed and I have a feeling I’m not alone in that.

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