The debate is back again in many states. As an example, the state of Michigan has celebrated its 10th year anniversary after having embraced the concept of a limitation of terms on its legislators. The subject of term limits is akin to the surveillance of a crocodile in roiled waters. It keeps rearing its ugly head. The effectiveness of term limits in this state has had vast advantages but has become somewhat diluted since those whose terms are up tend to jump from one legislative branch to another. The pathetic part of this story is that they become soon elected again in another branch because an an apathetic public doesn’t judge them on their competence but on their name recognition. We circled the wagons and left a gaping hole. But that's another story.
The need for term limits at the national level has never been more in evidence. The 9/11Commission today is a typical example as to what depth the Congress of the Unites States has fallen. This Blue Ribbon but highly tainted group will be spending millions of our dollars on a witch hunt and typify the realities of when the embedded run amok. Their present actions are a fall-out of the perverted standards which have befallen our country and this once August body. The willingness and the speed in forming a Kangaroo Court in order to put the President of the United States on trial while at war is absolutely obscene.All this piety while still allowing terrorists months and years before putting the known and captured on trial is offensive and exemplifies a body of legislators who have neither shame nor self respect. As one pundit reported as he listened to their blather, “it’s like they’re trying to put manure to music.” There is no way that a novice citizen-legislator would have ever allowed this to happen.
As George Will wrote, “Incivility is a consequence of what Congress is and does. Congress, a representative institution, represents the nations increasing vulgarity and declining self-restraint.”
The anti-term limits people continue the cry for the importance of experienced politicians.The use of the phrase “lame ducks” tends to be prevalent in the writings of those who oppose term limits. There is a fear that nothing will get done if a legislator knows that he or she will soon be out of office.
On the other hand it also means that a legislator will no longer be easy prey for the special interest groups and/or the lobbyists since pouring money into that legislator’s coffers will most likely not bring back the desired results within the needed time limit.
There is a great deal to be said for able, strong, intelligent inexperienced politicians. As with an effective corporate CEO, these are the people who would have the ability to surround themselves with staff who are experts in each element of political legislation.By their track record we have seen what career politicians have wrought and yet these facts of history tend to be discounted by those who would prefer to be led by the entrenched.
We know from unadulterated experience that the cardinal principals of most politicians fall into three priorities: spending our money, career protection, political fund raising and finally the constituents. It has oft been noted that the less meetings by the legislators the more protected is the citizenry.
As was once written by an unknown author, “prior to W.W.II we viewed elective office as a sacrifice. For today’s politicians, it’s a career opportunity. We rid America of a monarchy and we’ve established an elected aristocracy. Once they were farmers, merchants and professionals who resumed their careers after a brief term of service and never lost touch with their roots.”
At present they are reminiscent of the feudal barons of yesteryear. Each with his own little kingdom, his geographical domain and his ever filled pocketbook to purchase the power to stay secure and safe behind those formidable walls.
In the absence of term limits at the national level, we are governed by an elite so distant from their constituents as to almost constitute a separate species. Our elected rulers hold office for 20 or 30 years, becoming increasingly detached from their roots, while rewarding themselves with additional monetary compensations at every turn.
There is strong reason to believe that with non-careerists we would not have been mandated over the years by a run-away juggernaut as to how much water should be in our toilet bowls; what diets we should be on; what size and type car to buy; where to live; and whether the puddles in our back yards are wetlands. This is mischief which can be wrought only by the entrenched.
American history has shown a direct correlation between longevity in office by politicians and their unwillingness to invest money in our military and in our defense. In the last half century there has been a direct correlation between an embedded congress and military unpreparedness.
We saw this most blatantly in the 40 year rule of the liberals as money continued to flow out of the military budget and into the pork barrels of their particular states. There was a continued unwillingness to support the military even while at war and yet their pet projects never suffered. It is so today.
As depicted in their writings, many of our founding fathers were fearful that citizens would stay in public office too long. It was James Madison in the Federalist Papers who cautioned, “A few of the members, as happens in all such assemblies, will possess superior talents, will by frequent re-elections become members of long standing; will be thoroughly masters of the public business, and perhaps not unwilling to avail themselves of those advantages.”
Is it any wonder that in poll ratings the politicians rank lowest in honesty, integrity and trust but highest in power? Power begets power and allows entry into a social world which they no longer recognize. This is evidenced in the devious climate of hallowed diversity and political correctness. Thus, as Tom Sowell has so aptly written “Giving leaders enough power to create ‘social justice’ is giving them enough power to destroy all justice, all freedom and all human dignity.”
In today’s political system we have an incumbent stacked deck where outsiders have a low percentage chance of entering the ring successfully. It is conventional wisdom that incumbents are in a better position to prepare and amass massive mailing lists, develop political machines, make invaluable political contacts and continue with year ‘round fund raising. In term limit states this has changed dramatically.
In Part II of “Why Not Term Limits” you will become acquainted with over 25 reasons as to why the need for men and women responding in an altruistic way to a political call far outweighs the aims and objectives of the Careerists.
George M. Haddad has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a Masters Degree in Social Administration with extensive work experience with the mentally ill. He is a World War II veteran having served in the Infantry; Interpreter of the French language; Interrogator in Technical Intelligence and Sgt.-Major of a Separation Center. Also the former Executive Director - National Institute for Burn Medicine - affiliated with the University of Michigan. He is retired from the National Staff of the YMCA as a troubleshooter in financial management and administration and has worked as a management consultant to non-profit corporations. He has written frequently on medical, social and political issues and has many published articles to his credit. He currently writes from Franklin, Michigan and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org