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Surrendering Freedom – Term Limits


Surrendering Our Freedom
To Choose

Posted on October 24,2010

A Second Look: Term limits are starting to enjoy some support among the voters. Voters see term limits as a magical bullet that is going deliver an honest and diligent congress that will not have to worry about reelection. It is the perception that term limits will create the kind of congress that focuses less on fund raising and more on the people’s business. But it is time to take a second look at term limits.

Term limits may have just the opposite effect of what voters have in mind. The heart of the matter is that we are a representative republic. Our elected officials have to face the electorate at terms end. The election process determines if the electorate is satisfied with the job his elected official is doing. Doing away with this voter approval process by way of term limits, also frees the elected official from having to answer to the voters. Term limits, by their nature will create large numbers of ‘lame ducks’ who are not responsible to anybody.

In short, term limits is a cop-out, a surrendering of voter responsibility. The voters already have the power to kick out any elected official – they don’t need an automated process to make those decisions. Term limits also trample on the rights of the people who think the politician is doing a good job. We should all have the right to choose whom we want to represent us. Doing otherwise robs us of one of those special freedoms enjoyed in this country.

Remember, a representative or a senator in his or her final term owes loyalty to nobody. No system can guarantee we will elect incorruptible representatives. Term limits would provide the perfect setting to the corruptible politicians to accept positions and favorable offerings that would provide future benefits after serving their term – all for a vote on an issue. Just because we insist upon term limits, do not believe that term limits will dispel the urgency and value held by interested parties on issues. Those interested parties will still find a way to affect legislation, and term limits will only facilitate that effort.

The Constitution renders the best method for maintaining control over the government – and that is the election process. We cannot improve matters for which we already have full control by making a system that automatically disenfranchises our freedom to choose.

Conclusion: This position is a departure from the one I held until only a short time ago. Then, I too was looking for a silver bullet to stop the endless cycle of raising money and political favoritism. But when freedom of choice and the reality of human failings enter the discussion, term limits is not the answer. A crook is a crook and just because we impose term limits doesn’t make a crook less of a crook. Crooks always find a way to ply their dishonesty. We the voters must be diligent in the oversight of our elected officials and fire the crooks when their actions come to light. We do not need to lose our right to choose. There is no easy way out, only a strong participation by the electorate will solve the problems associated with our elected officials . Get involved, insist on a diligent and honest vetting process for candidates, and then watch them like a hawk after they are in office.

Keep your freedom.

"You can pretend to be serious; you can't pretend to be witty."
- Sacha Guitry


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