Our national politics have evolved significantly since our country was founded over two centuries ago. Today we seem to have a political class, even a political elite, that endures. These political elite work hard, and spend a lot of their time, to ensure that retain their political power. They need money to sustain these efforts which makes them vulnerable lobbyists and special interests. This dilutes their support for popular issues and the priorities of their constituencies. This is a huge threat to our democracy. We find that a relationship grows among the political elite, the financial elite, and the intellectual elite. They work together to perpetuate and grow their own interests, and many times at the expense of the general population – the majority, the people of ‘government of, for and by the people’.
The solution to this degradation of our democracy is clear and ti is not a new idea – term limits. Eliminate the career politician. The world, our environment and our needs and issues continually evolve. New people with new ideas and current identity with the values and priorities of their constituencies are needed to keep the democracy current, relevant and efficient. Historically, term limits have been used to avoid the problem that we face today. A good discussion of the history of term limits is available on Wikipedia. The political elite understand that term limits represent a grave threat to their future. Hence, the challenge.
One can argue that being an effective politician is not easy and that it takes years of experience to learn how to ‘work the system’. This argument may have some validity but can be addressed by ensuring a staggered rotation of terms, as well as a term limit that is not too short. Experience can exist along with fresh new people.
Most likely achieving term limits for our Congressional representatives (both House and Senate) will take a lot of debate and ultimately a constitutional amendment – a long and difficult process. Clearly we have to start. The first step is to elect new, fresh people’s representatives to congress. We all must participate in this by becoming more politically aware and active. Help save our democracy!