Term Limits - Another Example of Distraction Politics


A few weeks ago, a visitor to this site asked my opinion on the topic of term limits for political offices. As is usual when I have access to a keyboard and word processor, that simple question earned a rather long and expansive reply.

Actually, I eventually trimmed the whole thing down by half as I wandered off topic while making comparisons to what I like to call "Distraction Politics". That is where our representatives and the conservative media get together and claim to be attacking a serious problem but are only, in truth, chipping away at the edges of the symptoms. Perhaps that should be a separate topic for a future article but, for the moment, I tried to focus on the non-solution of term limits.

What follows is the majority of my reply. I thought it important to bring "Distraction Politics" out into the light of day in order that we can all begin looking at our world and, thus, discover the many dark corners and crevices that conceal such superfluous tirades. They are, after just s few moments consideration, truly everywhere.

I've amended some parts and removed some others. The aim was to make the intent clearer. I hope I've succeeded.


Sir,

You asked my opinion of the idea of term limits. I can only answer that term limits, as well as gun control and the number of police on our streets or the size of our prison system or the size of "across the board" tax breaks and on and on, is merely a solution searching for a problem.

The number of terms a politician stays in office has no bearing on whether or not that person is or ever was an honest politician whose only goal is to leave this nation a better place for his having served. I happen to believe that many, but not by any means all, politicians initially run for office in answer to problems that they feel should be addressed. What makes the entire system rotten to the core is that old Biblical "root of all evil", MONEY.

Because anyone who hopes to gain office must have vast sums of cash available in order to be noticed and reported on, the accumulation of that cash becomes the overriding concern of that candidate's entire organization. Every spare moment must be spent engaging in whatever activity that will best abet creating a larger and larger "war chest" (I just love that expression).

Since you and I are not financially capable of having such huge amounts of expendable funds, the candidate must go to where those funds are most easily acquired. The only places so equipped are the boardrooms of Corporate America and the living rooms of the wealthy. Since these folks have not achieved that wealth by being charitable but, rather, by always expecting an exchange of goods or services from their expenditures, the candidate must make many, many promises of support for legislation that will directly benefit those few who can (let's call it what it is) afford to buy his soul.

The mere fact that every candidate that runs expects to remain in some elective office for years to come means that every dime raised is in exchange for a promise of a future reward to the patron. Since you and I cannot furnish those funds, our needs and desires are far down on the newly elected/re-elected politician's agenda.

In every instance, as in California, where term limits were enacted by the will of the people, politicians and their financial owners have simply continued their little dance while moving from office to office, never providing for the people but always repaying their political debts.

The only, and I stress only, process that can return the focus of our government back to the average American and our needs is to remove money 100% from the equation. All elections and all candidates must be funded from taxes with truly severe and unavoidable criminal consequences for anyone found guilty of either providing or accepting any funds of any sort whatsoever.

All political parties would be eligible for equal funding. A party would be considered a legitimate political party whenever it attains some predetermined percentage of votes in local elections. Each step forward for that party, from municipal to county to state to national elections, would be allowed only by virtue of the support of sufficient voters.

Since, as the Supreme Court ruled early in the last century, the airwaves and all frequencies within it belong to the American people and can only be used by the media through the temporary licensing by that media, then our political process must be given valuable prime time access by any and all forms of broadcast media. At any time, if that access is denied or curtailed in any way, then the license to use those airwaves must be automatically revoked and offered by the public for licensing, once again.

No advertising for a particular candidate may be aired at any time. Any so-called "issue ads" must carry a very prominent 800# that can be used to acquire a complete list of all people or businesses that funded that ad. This information must be free and complete and those who have any part in the concealment of that information facing major prison time.

The "debate" over term limits hides the fact that it is the bribery of our elected officials that is the root cause of professional politicians whose only allegiance is to their financial owners. Any honest, capable and forceful individual who attains public office will have every opportunity to retain that or higher office by the mere act of supporting the Constitution's requirement that he or she "... establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...". Nothing less can ever again be considered acceptable.

America is too lazy, though, to understand the effects of not attacking the root causes of our major dilemmas. We demand more cops and bigger prisons and longer sentences and bigger and more powerful guns to fight the crime which is a direct result of our Draconian and senseless "Zero Tolerance" drug laws. This lust for vengeance and sick desire for firepower is exactly the same as was seen during Prohibition when the people wanted to do something, anything, but ended up smoothing out the symptoms while lacking the courage to face up to the underlying problems.

Basically, my friend, you can look at nearly every major dilemma we, as a nation, face and, once you have identified the root and absolute cause, you can easily see the direction which we must travel to solve that problem. Sadly, though, since bribery disguised as "campaign contributions" and the billions and billions of your dollars being thrown at a fifty year old, long lost war on Americans with addictive personalities are very, very profitable to those concerned, we will have to fight for years to ever get heard over the TV or the Michael Jordan commercials or the video games.

You cannot expect a heroin addict to voluntarily solve his own addiction and we cannot expect the politician addicted to the bribery which keeps him in office to voluntarily cease begging for more. Any solution that is intelligent and which attacks the root problem can only come from us, the American people. That will take an immense amount of energy and a thick skin to deflect the attacks that will inevitably come from those addicted to the current system of politics. It's possible, though, and people like you and I are its only hope. I wish us all the best of luck since I refuse to leave this ungodly mess for my children to have to take care of.

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Copyright 1/7/2000