Playing political ‘tit-for-tat’

January 19, 2023

By: Jacquelyn D. Heath
Special to The Milwaukee Times

We’ve just made it through an election cycle to choose members of Congress. In addition, we are gearing up for elections to choose various officials at the local level, such as aldermen, county supervisors and judges, between now and April 2023.

It would be nice to think that we could depend on those we elect to represent us to focus on the needs and work of the people, and empowerment of the citizenry – which is the whole premise of building ‘a more perfect union.’

However, elected officials at all levels seem to be more intent on advancing their own individual agendas, often at the expense of their opponents, ultimately squandering the resources and the trust of the American people. Instead of using their extensive access and acumen to benefit society and the greater good, their efforts are largely focused on their own needs and advancement.

When they’re not feathering their own nests, elected officials these days like to point out the shortcomings of their opponents, through endless rounds of ‘political tit-for-tat’.

The latest round of this diversion from things that really matter is the current finger-pointing contest over classified government documents – where they were found, who had access to them, how many were found, and why they weren’t where they were supposed to be. The featured targets are former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden.

People who enjoy petty squabbles can have a field day talking about who does and doesn’t have what documents and how long they’ve had them.

In my opinion, the real argument lies in the ambiguity and laxity of the rules and processes for ANYONE to handle and have access to classified government materials. Here’s a thought:

When someone in government creates a classified document, the National Archives assigns it a unique ID number — sort of like the call numbers used in the library. The document is also assigned to a National Archives staff member who acts like the document’s monitor and tracks its whereabouts at all times A borrower has a limited time to “check out” and use a document from the National Archives; and the document can only be used in designated secured government facilities – that does NOT include private residences. The monitor would be responsible for retrieving the document at the end of its original loan period, or processing an extension for a finite period of time and retrieve the document personally when the extension period expires.

With a system like this with some built-in accountability, government officials might have time to leave the finger-pointing and ‘political tit-for-tat’ where it belongs – in the garbage – and get some actual work done.

Imagine that…

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or HT Group, LLC, its staff or management. “Our Community Voices” is a bi-weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper.

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