As the prospects of a government shut-down become reality, many Americans wonder, “what’s next?” That’s a good question. The good news is, the world is still turning, gravity still works, and this will likely be a short-lived situation. Why? Because the professional politicians currently running our government, Republicans and Democrats alike, cannot allow this to be a long-term situation for fear of jeopardizing their carers.
Careers. Therein lies our problem. My study of American history tells me that our founders never intended that serving in government would be a career. It would be a sacrifice; an act of service to one’s peers in which the government representative leaves home for a few years to go to Washington and serve her neighbors; when her turn is over she returns home so another can take his turn. Working in that manner, self-interest will not trump service to country.
The time for Congressional term limits is way past due. The professional politicians currently occupying the seats of those who are supposed to represent the interests of we Americans are, instead, serving their own professional interests as they seek to forward their political careers. Why do we see many newly elected representatives turn into Washington insiders soon after arrival in Congress? Because the machine that is our government sucks them in and, with few exceptions, they are unable to resist the siren call of personal power and financial security on the backs of working Americans. Next thing we know, they’ve been there way too long and they begin to sound like Harry Reid, John McCain, and so many others who, in my opinion, quit representing their respective constituencies years ago.
Opponents to Congressional term limits typically cite the fact that we the people can simply replace those in government with whom we’ve become disenchanted by voting them out of office. In my state of Texas we elected Kay Bailey Hutchison to three terms in the Senate after she served a partial term. But for her retirement to run for governor she would likely have been elected to a fourth (my opinion), absent a worthy challenger. Here’s the rub: Both major parties are run by establishment politicians who discourage would-be candidates from challenging the status quo. Why? Because challenging the status quo means there would be turnover in government! Their political careers would be jeopardized! It is not in their personal interest to allow worthy candidates a level platform from which to challenge incumbent office holders. Hence, the people are not presented with worthy alternatives to those currently in office.
We have become a country run by establishment politicians bent on furthering their own interests, even at the expense of the American people. This, in my opinion, is why we have rampant debt and continue to spend in deficit. This, in my opinion, is why government fails year after year to balance our federal budget and, instead, subjects us to these ridiculous debt ceiling arguments and, yes, our current government shut-down. This, in my opinion, is why politicians from both parties are happy to watch Americans attack each other personally while the politicians continue to line their pockets and secure their personal financial futures on our backs. On our current path, our country will one day be bankrupt as our economy collapses. I guarantee you those currently in power will walk away unscathed while the rest of us are left to clean up their mess.
Our government is broken, thanks to the establishment politicians to whom we Americans have entrusted her. We need break that trend. We need term limits to reduce the power of incumbency and allow other would-be public servants, true public servants, to step forward and take their turn at the helm. We need leaders who will break the machine and lead this country before the professional politicians lead us to economic collapse. Let’s not let that happen. The time for we Americans to act is now.