Documents drama once again reveals two parties’ revenging each other has been Washington’s daily routine
Published: Jan 17, 2023 12:10 AM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

A dramatic scene recently took place in US politics - the country's former and incumbent presidents have simultaneously fallen into cases of classified documents. Their scandals over handling classified documents have been used as a tool for partisan struggle, which refreshed the international community's awareness of how bottomless the US politics is.

After US media outlets reported that some classified documents including US intelligence memos from Joe Biden's time as vice president were found in a private office, the GOP, which just took control of the House, has seized the opportunity to launch political revenge against Biden and his Democrats.

According to media reports, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer on Sunday slammed US President Joe Biden and his team for their handling of classified documents, announcing on CNN's "State of the Union" that he is requesting additional information about the situation. He called Biden's residence in Wilmington, Delaware, a "crime scene" after classified documents from Biden's tenure as vice president were found at his home.  

In the aftermath of former president Donald Trump's stepping down, the Democrats carried out a series of reckoning acts. A large number of documents with classification markings — including some at the top secret level — have been recovered from Trump since he left office in January 2021, which triggered Democrats' rough attack and criminal investigation. 

Biden may not have anticipated that the manner he used against his political opponent would also apply to him. Many media have described the matter as "the worst political crisis of his presidency."

However, when it was exposed that Trump and Biden retained classified documents, what the US media and politicians focus on is not why the two presidents had hidden documents, how they were discovered, what loopholes the US political system and laws have, or how it impacts the US' national security and the public's interests. Instead, they have exploited it as an instrument to retaliate against political opponents. Justice, fairness, and the rule of law are worthless in US politics, but political interests are above everything else.

Especially as the 2024 presidential election is approaching, the US' political atmosphere is sensitive and the two parties will spare no effort to fully use every opportunity to slander the other. Against this background, it is projected that the Republicans will not miss a golden opportunity to contain their Democratic counterparts.

In many US politicians' mind, there is no bottom line, or integrity, and what they bear in mind is seeking for power. The US politics has been completely reduced to a game for politicians to realize their party and personal ambitions. They are just playing a house of cards. The two parties put all their effort on political struggles rather than governance, neglecting the public's real concerns about well-being, national unity as well as interests. Their campaign promises are nothing but an empty talk.

It is not fresh to see the US' two parties counteract each other's efforts. There is even a term - vetocracy, to portray such phenomenon. But it has become increasingly fierce in which among politicians, especially cross-party politicians, the sentiment of hatred can be widely seen, Lü Xiang, an expert on international relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Regardless of how Biden's scandal of the handling of classified documents will end, its ripple on the US society will be broad and long-lasting.

The increasingly fierce partisan struggle will remarkably reduce the public trust in the US government, no matter which party is taking power. There will be more Americans who will realize the true color of these politicians. As the largest audience of "political drama," the US public will gradually sink into self-doubt, and no longer choose to maintain existing trust in power institutions and even democratic systems. Various kinds of conspiracy theories will also go rampant in this process. The US' two-party system may not be sustainable in the future.

Even though the scandal is ultimately going to end up with nothing definite for any reason, its "wear and tear" on the American democratic system will be irreversible.