Safeguarding our secrets for our seniors

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons | President Joe Biden joins former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with mishandling classified information.

Zach Petroff | Opinions Editor

Jan. 26, 2023

What do Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Donald Trump have in common?

And no, this isn’t the set-up of a corny joke, but the similarities could be interchangeable with a punchline.

While much has been discussed about these three political juggernauts, at a quick glance it seems these figures share few similarities. Earlier this month it was discovered that Biden joined the former president and former Secretary of State with the mishandling of classified documents.

While the circumstances were different, the sin remains the same.

Prominent people in power were negligent in how they handled confidential government information. These three put the country at risk by not adhering to the precautions set in place to avoid vital information falling into the hands of our country’s adversaries.

The political coverage of this mishandling of private information has been, at the very least, exhausting.

Who could forget the investigations of Hillary Clinton’s email? It was not that long ago that Michael Flynn, the former National security advisor, took the stage at the 2016 Republican National Convention and famously chanted “Lock her up.”

In the same speech, he explained his reasoning.

“I have called on Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race because she put our nation’s security at extremely high risk with her careless use of a private email server.”

As for Trump, roughly 300 documents with classification markings that included top secret information have been recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

And now it has been discovered that Biden had documents with classified markings in a storage space in his garage.

All of them were negligent, all of them will (or have) faced little-to-no actual consequences.

These incidents have dominated the news cycle, while political partisan hacks spewed their biased talking points. Depending on the culprit, it was either “our person is being unfairly prosecuted” or “their person should be in jail.”

As the political discourse turns into an endless vicious cycle there is one narrative that seems to have been left out highlighting yet another trait these three share,

They are all old.

Clinton was 66 when she finished her tenure as Secretary of state, Trump is 76 years old, and Joe Biden is 80.

Are we really that surprised that senior citizens forgot where they put something?

While there are varying degrees of intelligence among the three, it is in the realm of possibilities that these three AARP- eligible politicians did what many people in that age do every day.

They put something down and forgot where they put it.

All three of these politicians were born in a world that looks very much different than the one we are in currently. There was no internet or social media. They had to walk up hill to school and from school in a snowstorm. Their generation was too busy ruining the economy and practicing misogyny to worry about safeguarding information.

This is what happens when you put senior citizens in positions of power.

I love my grandparents. They are extraordinary people who have accomplished a lot and are full of wisdom and life experience that are guided by their moral code. I would trust them to babysit my cat or pick me up from the airport.

I would not trust them with physical or digital secret information.

I think the easiest solution would be to just stop electing old people. If you can’t pass a driver’s test you can’t run a country. We need young people who are versed in technology to have a much less chance of leaving classified documents in their garage – especially since most young people can’t afford houses.

Since it is unlikely that we stop electing fossils to lead this country, we should perhaps think of installing more adaptive guard-rails to protect American secrets.

Perhaps we should make access to secret documents as complicated as it was to operate a VCR in the ‘90s or keep those same documents in a room that only plays loud rap music.

Now while most of my suggestions are made in jest, intel is a vital part of our country’s security. The wrong hands get the wrong information can have some detrimental results. We have now had three very high-ranking government officials who have been unable to account for classified information.

This is a failure of procedure, not a testament of character.

There are plenty of other examples we can point to when criticizing these elder statesmen.