MYCHAL MASSIE OPPOSES TERM LIMITS
Many conservatives find it a stunning admission on my part when I say that “I’m unapologetically opposed to term limits.” They are even more shocked when I say that I will resist the codification of term limits.
I once thought I favored term limits; because I, like many today, hadn’t thought through the ramifications of same. Like many today, I took a cursory glance at the subject, applied logic that in no way addressed the real problem, and then parroted “we need term limits” in conjunction with the cacophony of voices calling for same.
When I took time to think things through, I realized that the Constitution established term limits. It provides a term limit of two years for members of the House of Representatives, and a term limit of six years for those in the Senate. Said members of each Body are permitted to serve additional terms at the discretion of the voters. And therein lies the rub.
Voters are lazy and gullible. The majority would rather complain and do nothing than to actually get involved. Their reasons for not getting involved range from not wanting to miss illiterate television programming to the detestable bromide of “nothing I do will make a difference.”
I argue term limits is nothing more than appeasing an apathetic voterate. I argue that term limits change nothing and that it is illogical to reason that they would. The idea of term limits gives the illusion of making a difference but in reality they are nothing more than sleight of hand. They are the action of political magicians that political neophytes applaud.
The problem isn’t how long politicians stay in office; the problem is the power and unconstitutional overreach of the federal government as a whole, and term limits do not address that.
Correcting the abrogation of power against the will and intent of the Constitution is not fixed nor corrected overnight. “Robert Drinan, former Member of Congress and Professor of Law at Georgetown University points out, term limits are the wrong cure to the wrong problem. Term limits will not make the rousing change that is expected of them. The problems that are behind the call for term limits are not a result of Members of Congress remaining in office for lengthy periods of time. The real problem lies in the use, or misuse, of power in the federal government and the distribution of power between our local and federal government. … The solution to this problem does not lie in limiting the terms of the people who can work with this power. The solution lies in restoring the power to where it should be, to the local governments.” (Why Term Limits Should be Opposed; Roger Beckett; April 1994)
An example of term limits is the presidency. Presidents serve two terms and out. Presidential term limits took us from Carter to President Reagan to Clinton to Obama.
Term limits would not have prevented NAFTA or obamacare; they would not have prevented Obama from increasing the national debt to $20 trillion. Term limits wouldn’t fix or challenge public schools nor would they protect us from Islamic terrorists. Term limits would not restore the Constitutional rights that were stolen from us under George Bush’s “Patriot Act.”
Changing what government has become is not an easy fix. Look at the resistance President Trump is facing trying to right the ship called “America” that the overwhelming majority of Americans readily admit is sinking.
Why aren’t the people who are clamoring for term limits attending their local government meetings? I have personal friends who serve in elected positions at local level tell me they can go a full year with no more than a handful of people showing up for each meeting.
Term limits do not hold the elected accountable but the very real threat of being voted out after one term certainly does. Term limits doesn’t prevent elected politicians from voting themselves raises, giving themselves special privileges, making bad deals, and passing terrible legislation. But a fully engaged public would.
The people calling for term limits should be fighting in their own states of domicile to prevent all out-of-state money that pours into local campaigns for local elections. Money pouring into the campaigns of candidates from those not residing in the state subverts and thwarts the will of the voters. If stopped it would allow the voters at state level to truly elect the candidate(s) of their choice. It would also allow competent candidates who do not have deep pockets to run on a fair playing field. This would also begin the real work of bringing the federal government under control.
Term limits simply change the focus of the true problem. They are nothing more than the work of political magicians getting voters to look at the empty hand while ignoring the hand with the knife in it that they will use to stab us in the back.
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