How familiar are you with the idea of term limits for Congress? Do you even care? I hope you do. My purpose here is not to argue about term limits because both sides make a solid case for their position. I doubt if anything I say will change your mind. (People dig their heels in pretty deep these days about any and every issue, it seems). Still, the truly educated lend themselves to understanding the arguments for and against an issue.
A number of proponents for term limits for Congress have commented on my Common Sense Civics and Citizenship Facebook page. Almost all have been in favor of term limits. There are no term limits mentioned in the Constitution for Senators and Representatives. Keep in mind, the Supreme Court Justices do not have a specific term limit either. Contrary to popular opinion, a Supreme Court Justice serves not for life but only “during good behavior.” Only the President has term limits (a maximum of 2 terms, 4 years each), and this was not until the 22nd Amendment was ratified in 1951.
Some reasons for term limits:
-widely supported across the nation by many demographic groups
-would eliminate congressmen and senators who are “lifers”
-would bring in fresh ideas
-would stop the promises of big government spending with the bill to be paid by generations not yet born
-cause Congress to work harder AND smarter with the time they have
-would be more inclined to serve in the public interest, not personal interest
Some reasons to keep the term of service in the hands of the electorate as it is now:
-Term limits would take the power away from those who actually vote. Some claim that people are lazy and don’t vote. That is not germaine to the issue. We have the freedom to vote. Others say illegals vote. Again, this is a matter of We the People showing up to the polls, have presented persuasive, constitutional arguments for or against the people we elect. If We the People don’t take an interest, we get the senators and representatives that interested voters elect. By the way, term limits will not insure against voter fraud, which is another matter entirely.
-Contrary to popular opinion, Congress deals with complex issues that require study, debate, and sometimes years to process. There are no simple “yes” and “no” answers to many issues that our nation faces. We the People have to live with the results of the laws Congress passes. Should we leave highly complex issues with long-lasting results to novices? If an experienced Congress fails us, what would an inexperienced one do?
-Power will always tend to concentrate in the most experienced circles. Thus, you don’t eliminate the concentration of power in the hands of a few, which is one of the contentions of the pro-term limits crowd.
-We the People will have less experienced senators and representatives chairing committees. Why become an expert in an area if you know your time to serve is short? It’s a lot of work to become expert at anything, taking years to gain expertise. It’s no different in Congress.
-Law and policymaking is part art, part science. Not everyone in Congress serves poorly. Most serve with excellence. You hear about the “bad” ones in the media. Granted, we need to know where there is dereliction of duty. However, bad news sells. The man or woman doing their job faithfully does not sell advertisements or newspapers. Sometimes, the “bad” ones are only highlighted because the press disagrees with them, not because they are truly incompetent. Again, We the People have the responsibility to learn the truth and speak out via email or phone call. Every congress person has contact info on their websites. How often do you speak up and let your senators or representatives respectfully know your thoughts or give them opportunity to defend themselves?
Again, issues like this need time in the public square to digest. Hopefully, you are gathering evidence to support your position on term limits, not just taking the word of the person who presented the most persuasive argument to you first.
Please keep an open mind, but keep it constitutional. ?
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??