When it comes to our elected officials, there is almost nothing we shouldn't know

In these days of Red versus Blue, when every other story regionally and nationally is about Democratic politicians fighting Republicans, it's often hard to realize that the pols on both sides of the aisle do seem to be agreeing more and more on one thing.

The kiddies in D.C. and Olympia appear united in trying to hide their actions from the voting public - the very people who pay their salaries and bestow upon them whatever prestige they have.

Down in Olympia, state Senator Bob Oke, a retired Navy officer and longtime Port Orchard Republican representative, has co-sponsored Senate Bill 5736, which would grant attorney-client privileges to legislators as they talk policy with their legal advisors here in Washington state.

In a town full of bad ideas, where our elected, part-time representatives grovel almost 24/7 before the Almighty Dollar - the recent stiffening of the legislative spine against Howard Schultz and Wally Walker's hoops business welfare plan notwithstanding - Oke's proposal bakes the cake and applies the icing to the current craze for secrecy among those we hire to allegedly work for us in government.

These people should be televised throughout their entire legislative session, even if most people will continue watching Oprah and Judge Judy instead of tuning in to the Legislative Follies.

There is nothing, other than the bathroom and the bedroom, we shouldn't know about the boys and girls in Olympia.

The gall of those we have elected to "serve" us knows no bounds, from our corpulent, allegedly democratic mayor - running roughshod over community in his rush to toady to the super-wealthy - all the way up to our allegedly Conservative, always-a-failure (until he got on the public teat) president in Washington, D.C.

They seem to have come to an agreement that "we the people" are an impediment to good government, not the reason for it in the first place.

Of course, it's hard to blame Oke, a nice man whose career in state politics hasn't been the stuff of headlines, or fodder for columnists. Oke likely believes that he and his cronies need peace and quiet while cutting up the state's diminishing revenues and parceling it all out to the folks back home in their districts.

But it is a bad idea. Government business is our business, not the private preserve of a few elected officials and their corporate sponsors.

The climate of the country probably encouraged Oke's bad idea as well.

Ever since 9/11, our boys and girls in government have been protecting us from ourselves by trying to make everything, not just matters of national security, top secret.

The nation's Freedom of Information Act is being transformed and gutted in the alleged name of national security.

A recent Associated Press news feature by Robert Tanner, published in The Seattle Times, documented instance after instance of private citizens requesting information that had nothing to do with terrorism being turned down.

National security was the reason invoked in almost all of these instances, which concerned things like flood studies, dam failures, natural-gas terminals and even suburban gas pipeline plans.

The saddest thing about all this is that once again the United States, the nation that in the '90s opened up its secret files and showed the world how freedom is managed, has taken a hard turn toward repression and secrecy.

Since 9/11, thousands of documents have been removed from the public view, according to freedom-of-information watchdog groups.

A free society isn't built on secrecy. Nothing except legitimate matters of national security should be hidden from the public view. Unless I've missed something, our leaders and representatives are not gifted with the Divine Rights of Kings and Queens.

You can write Dennis Wilken at rtjameson@nwlink.com.[[In-content Ad]]