Democracy only works when its elected officials understand that no single issue is likely to be supported by 100 percent of those charged with making laws affecting all of its nation’s people. Deliberation and compromise are the only ways laws are passed in a civilized society. This does not happen in America in the 21 century.
This serious problem, which resulted in the most corrupt and dysfunctional government in the free world, would not exist if two evils were removed from the voting process.
Every four years, citizens elect a man or woman who will reside in the White House for the next four years. However, the people are not included in this process. The result is decided by the number of electoral votes assigned to each state. This method produces an election where the voices of millions of Americans simply do not count.
The Electoral College is, in this author’s humble opinion, anti-American and a violation of the First and 14th Amendments.
However, the greater injustice is the failure of the government to impose term limits on the legislative and judicial branches of government.
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Lord John Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902).
This is the situation that has existed for far too long in Washington. Longevity in government is not an honor or a respected career. The average age of lawmakers is over 60 years of age, but the average age of this nation’s population is 38.2 years old. This single fact creates a government that is out of touch with the people of America. No man or woman should be allowed to serve in Washington who is twice as old or older than the average citizen.
A perfect example is Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. First elected to the Senate in 1981, Grassley is now 88 years old and will run for reelection. Really? This is another thing this author cannot make up.
This author will be 76 in July and hopes his mental abilities will remain lucid and intellect intact for the years to come. However, this author would be incapable of having the physical energy and the ability to deal with the mental stress necessary to serve in the federal government.
Even worse is Senate Minority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell. He is 80 years old, serving his seventh six-year term. He is the creator of the “party of no” and has accomplished nothing for the people of Kentucky or the United States since his first year in the Senate, which was 1984. Moscow Mitch will forever be remembered as the man who refused to give Donald Trump a fair trial in the Senate after being impeached twice by the House of Representatives for his many Constitutional violations.
This week Wisconsin became the fifth state to call for Congressional term limits.
In 1947, Congress passed a resolution calling for presidential term limits, and the states ratified it in 1951. The truth is, it was the result of an unbeatable man, known as “the People’s President,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was undefeated between 1932 and his death in 1945. However, this author agrees with the law. It serves the intent of the founding fathers. They feared any form of autocracy when they left England for the New World, eventually creating the United States of America.
The situation in Washington today is directly related to the failure of Congress to establish term limits for its own. This author can name at least 200 of the 535 men and women in the House and Senate who have “overstayed their welcome.” Senators should not be allowed to remain in office for more than two, six-year terms. Likewise, members of the House should be forced to retire after serving no more than four terms, totaling eight years.
America is all about change, and change is necessary if the government is to become a functioning body again.
Justices serving on the Supreme Court receive a lifetime appointment once confirmed by the Senate. This is asinine. If a justice proves incompetent, there is virtually no recourse that would allow them to be removed from their position. Currently, five judges are unfit to sit in judgment on the highest Court in the nation. Yet, they can make decisions that will affect the country for decades and possibly centuries in the future.
Ending lifetime appointments would prevent biased men and women from receiving powers that could prevent the Law of the Land from protecting the rights of individuals guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
Change is inevitable, and change must be adapted to the Constitution that people believe is a living document. Unfortunately, it cannot be taken literally.
The government must serve the people. When their ambitions prioritize the welfare of the majority, they must be removed from office, and term limits would guarantee that change.
Op-ed by James Turnage
Edited by Jeanette Vietti
AP News: Wisconsin 5th state to call for convention on term limits
FOX: Congress term limits; Wisconsin Senate rejects, then passes, call; by AP Author
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Inline Image Courtesy of NCinDC’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License