Monday, August 27, 2007

Power vs. Democracy…

What would happen to our government if we had congressional term limits? There are two basic arguments for and against term limits. People that oppose term limits believe that the consistent turnover of power undermines the ability of politicians to set policy for the nation and “bring home the bacon”. Basically they see longevity as consistency and getting more federal funds for their district. The people that support term limits see it as the only way to get rid of entrenched incumbents because the system is so weighted in favor of reelecting powerful incumbents. They believe politicians once elected, focus most of their attention at getting reelected, therefore needing to raise money, and in raising that money, give favor to policies that align with donors; “the good old boy/girl” network. The longer a politician resides in Washington, the more powerful the committee’s they chair, and the more that district controls national power.

Voters measure their politicians by “what they get done”. But what if what they are getting “done” is hurting the nation as a whole? How does a voter in Colorado get rid of a representative in Massachusetts that has been there for forty years, brings home the bacon to his district, but passes education and environmental policies that handcuff and undermine Colorado principals and values? Where is the principal in that? We are burdened by legislation nurtured and sponsored by committee chairman, not because it is good for the nation but because it is good for their “constituency”; whether that constituency is the voters in their district or the powerful lobbying groups that finance that politician’s reelection.

When will we as American’s, citizens of these United States actually start voting for policies that are good for the nation rather than the few? When it is too late? Maybe, after a devastating terrorist attack on one of our cities because we failed to secure our borders? After the nation’s largest corporations are allowed to reap the benefits of our laws and economic freedoms while they move their headquarters and jobs to tax friendly countries? Even if those countries deny basic human rights. Or will it be when our self interested politicians have devastated every institution and founding principal that makes us great; like our constitution?

Have we lost our "American soul"?

I know that there are great American’s out there that want to serve this nation, not for personal gain, but because of their commitment to this great nation and the beacon of freedom and tolerance our system represents. I believe these great American’s number in the millions and the best way to tap this greatness is to implement term limits and give others a chance. A chance to move beyond a “bring home the bacon” attitude. A chance to implement new policies to replace the failures of the past; educational excellence and the “war on poverty” come to the top of my mind. It is our opportunity to unite around our founding principles. Term limits is our opportunity to reduce the power in Washington and improve our nation as a truly representative democracy. Just a thought…

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your arguement is very persuasive. Love, Mom

Kenny said...

Rich,

There are several changes which need to take place in addition to term limits. One of the changes which need to take place is the total elimination of earmarks.

Kenny

Rich said...

Amen!