An Argument for Term Limits

minute-man-2-lithoWe have both the responsibility and opportunity of living with the most incompetent government ever to occupy the District of Columbia.  I say “responsibility” because, as a nation, we have looked the other way for a full century while the federal government abandoned the “American Dream” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” envisioned by the founders, settling instead for a pipe-dream of, entertainment, toys and ease.  Too many of us are more interested in our favorite sports team, the antics of the celebrity of the day, and how we can acquire the latest technological toy, than in what our government is doing.

In our quest for entertainment and comfort, we have allowed our government to be taken over by a group of political hacks, more loyal to their political bosses and campaign contributors who keep them in office than to the country and the Constitution they are sworn to defend.  Even the most incompetent among them are continuously returned to Washington, so long as we can snack on the scraps of pork that fall from their table, while they feast on the fruits of our labor.

I say “opportunity” because the crushing debt and level of tyranny bearing down on our children, our children’s children and us is something we can no longer ignore.  As more citizens become aware of where the road we are now on is taking us, the opportunity for changing course becomes more of a possibility.  The most frequent question we hear asked on talk radio today is, “What can I do?”  Everywhere we see signs that the American people are not only frightened about where our leaders are taking us, they are downright angry as well.  Millions of citizens are expected to take part in the “tea parties” planned across the country on April 15th.

There is a lot we can do as individuals, but we first have to take an honest look at how we got here. Conservatives need to take full advantage of the awakened interest and anger of millions of Americans to reeducate as many as possible on where our liberty comes from, and what the foundation of our past prosperity rests on.  We need to recognize that we no longer have the Constitutional, representative republic entrusted to us by our Founders.

Our type of government cannot survive without the rule of law.  We worry about the lawlessness on our southern border, and in some of our inner cities while our political class is the most lawless of all.  We cannot rightly be described as “a nation of law and not of men” as long as our political leaders continue to ignore and wantonly violate the Supreme Law of the Land, the Constitution.

Our representative form of government works fine so long as it is held in check by a Constitution.  When it departs from the Constitution it is no longer truly representative in the way it was intended to be.  The federal government is a creation of the states and was intended to serve the needs of the states to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”  It no longer performs these functions that justify its existence.

Instead of forming a more perfect union, it seeks to divide us through class warfare, racial divides, and cultural diversity.  Instead of “establishing justice“, our judicial branch is used to promote political and social agendas that are anything but “just“.  In place of “domestic tranquility“, the federal government has become the primary source of domestic agitation.  It seeks to promote the welfare of favored groups rather than the “general welfare,” and is in the process of removing the “blessings of liberty from ourselves and our posterity.”  Last but not least, the most important purpose of the federal government, “to provide for the common defense” is the one most despised by our current political class.

For those who take exception to my claim that we are no longer a representative government, I would remind them that the purpose of our government is to provide us with a common defense against foreign adversaries, and to deal with a handful of issues that cannot be handled effectively by the states acting independently.  Under the Constitution, the only involvement by the federal government has in our economy is in maintaining the network of communication provided by the Post Office, protecting intellectual property through patents and copyrights, promoting and protecting free trade between the states through the regulation of interstate commerce, and promoting international trade through the regulation of imports and exports.  Under the Constitution, the control and use of natural resources, social services, and intrastate commerce is the responsibility of the individual states.

As a whole, the economy is left to the ingenuity of the American people through capitalism, with the states exercising the amount of oversight necessary to insure fair and honest dealing between buyers and sellers.  The products made and the services provided depend on the perceived needs of the people and the willingness of businesses to provide for those needs at an honest profit.  Necessary social services such as, fire and police protection, care for the aged, health care for the indigent, education, etc., are the responsibility of state and local governments, churches, private charities, families and the charity of individuals.  For the most part, individuals are left free to pursue their own avenues to happiness and prosperity.

Under such a constitutional government, those who represent the states in national affairs are truly representatives of the people and sensitive to its will.  That is no longer the case, however.  Today, our Congressmen and Senators represent the interest of political parties, and their supporters, not the interest of the people.  The federal government has become so intertwined in the economic affairs of the states and their citizens that virtually every law they pass has a tangible effect on how each of us is permitted to live our daily lives.  Congress exercises power over individual citizens that was never intended by the founders nor permitted by the Constitution.  Yet, we seem powerless to do anything about it.

The Congressman or Senator from New York sponsors and votes for laws that determines how the citizen in Utah or Louisiana lives his or her life.  A Congresswoman elected by the citizens of one city and a Senator elected by the citizens of one of our least populated states exercise dictatorial powers over what types of legislation can be debated and voted on in Congress and the conditions under which they can be considered.

No member of Congress is elected by more than 1% of the national vote, yet they are able to determine what 100% of our citizens are allowed to do with their lives.  To prevent this is precisely why the Founders crafted a Constitution that limited the powers of Congress and the federal government to matters that were truly national in nature.  The Tenth Amendment was added to the Constitution to insure that the limitation placed on Congress and the federal government was understood and adhered to.

To correct the abuses of Franklin Roosevelt, the Twenty Second Amendment limiting the terms of the President, was added in 1947 and ratified in 1951.  Experiences of the last fifty years indicate we need another amendment that limits the terms of our Senators and Congressmen.  The argument most often given is that the people should be allowed to elect anyone they wanted for as long as they are doing an adequate job, and that to do otherwise would infringe on the right of the people to be represented by the person of their choice.

This would perhaps be a valid argument if we were still governed under a Constitution that limited the powers of government to those delegated.  However, as long as Congress exercises the power to protect us from ourselves by telling us what to eat, what to drive, how much electricity our appliances can consume, and how much water our toilets can use, we deserve the right to protect ourselves from the uninformed, indifferent, and just plain stupid voters who continue to return incompetent, self-serving officials to Washington election after election.

Meanwhile, at the state and local level we need a method for recalling representatives when it becomes evident they are not going to honor their oath of office by protecting and defending the Constitution.  The mere existence of such a possibility would perhaps, provide the leverage we need to remind them that they are there to serve the interest of the people not the party.  Just as Rom Emmanuel says, “we can’t let a good crisis go to waste”.  We truly have a crisis in government, and we should take the opportunity it provides to return our government to the purposes for which it was created.


One response to “An Argument for Term Limits

  1. Most problems have obvious roots.

    The primary facts in evidence are:

    (1) Congress is elected largely by those persons who raise the most money.

    (2) Lobbyists are the primary source of Congressional campaign contributions.

    (3) Congress regularly passes laws completely in conflict with the Constitution.

    (4) There is no effective police force to compel proper Congressional conduct.

    (5) Most Americans have little knowledge of the Constitution.

    Thus, the perfect storm is perpetuated whereby the lobbyist/Congressional partnership ensures the outcome lobbyists desire fueled by the relative ignorance of most Americans.

    Wile the crimes against the Constitution are largely committed by Congress, and approved by the President, Americans antithetically continue to elect those that abuse their oath of office.

    Term limits will merely only serve to metaphorically rearrange the deck chairs on the Titantic. To stop the ship from sinking, the people need to wake up and elect people who cherish and abide by the Constitution instead of the lot we have in Washingto today.