Many forget that it was the Greeks and the Romans who established much of the way our country works today. Whether you are aware or not, the best of those societies have continued their legacy in our governments. The concept of ‘not allowing any one person to hold a position of control or power for an indefinite period of time’ or (Term Limits) for the common good has especially endured and survived the test of time. In other words, if term limits worked for the Greeks they will work for us!
The Benefits of Congressional Term Limits
It’s disheartening knowing that there is remarkable potential for corruption in our government. Politicians should want to serve simply for the benefit of the people. Many public servants begin as motivated individuals who serve for the people, but along the way, their goal focuses towards “getting re-elected” rather than acting on what they had actually promised.
For years politicians have developed an international reputation for being corrupt and uninterested in their own obligations. This stigma that all politicians “belong in a swamp” due to their extreme caliber of corruption is to some degree true— and the deficiency of term limits could the main reason behind it. The relationship between corruption in a single politician directly correlates to the length of time they have served. If you look at any career politician’s timeline you would be able to tell for yourself that corruption is more likely to occur the longer an official stays in office. Term limits would limit the time allowed for a politician to be influenced by the power that comes with their elected seat. While most of this country’s leaders are not corrupt, those that are, have succumbed to the influence of their power due to the extended period of time of their position.
Fewer Career Politicians
The initial purpose of electing officials was to represent the interests of the people. This is why serving as an elected official should be looked at as a public service rather than as an opportunity for a profession. Have you heard the phrase “of the people, by the people, for the people”? The goal as a senator is not to make your position into your ‘permanent job.’ As one of the longest-serving senators in United States history, Strom Thurmond is the prime example of an ‘outdated politician.’ When Thurmond first ran for Senate he was pro-segregation and was an open advocate until the early 1970s. Not to mention that through all of this, Thurmond’s daughter was partially African-American. I could easily drivel on about how racist Thurmond really was, and I could even mention the fact that he gave the longest filibuster in American history in an attempt to prevent the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. I can’t be the only one who sees something wrong with allowing this man to hold a seat in office for nearly 50 years. In a world where societal principles are constantly changing, it’s completely immoral to allow someone who justifies prejudiced beliefs to serve for so long.
An excerpt from Thurmond’s infamous Swimming Pool Speech. Remember that this man was in office until 2003.
“There’s not enough troops in the Army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigger race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.”
Less Corporate Influence
Corporations are constructed to exchange a good or service to people willing to pay a set amount; supporting these structures is what preserves our country’s reputation as having one of the most powerful economies in the world. In America’s free market system, corporations have the power to accumulate the necessary support to fund their personal interests. While it is just as legal as it is unethical, large corporations should not be able to influence the outcome of an election. With term limitations, corporate persuasion will still inevitably happen, but not to the extreme degree as it does with career politicians in office. Corporations will always look for ways to buy influence, but this is not the result of term limits. They often form “Political Action Committees” (PACs and Super PACs) and fund their own candidates from the start. Term limits are not the solution to corporate influence but are rather a step towards a healthier governmental system.
Productivity & A Higher Congressional Approval Rating
Career politicians often lose touch with their original plans for change and instead shift their attention to getting re-elected in the upcoming election. The common argument of the left consists of, “If they turn out to be an unproductive senator we can just vote for a new one,” and while I somewhat agree with the idea behind this argument, the left is forgetting to consider the fact that congressional re-election rates are substantially high. According to the Washington Post, Congress’s approval rating has reached historic lows at least 12 times since 2010. What happened to “voting for a new one?” It’s clear to see that regardless of whether a politician is productive or not, 9 times out of 10 they will still be re-elected. Term limits would establish a more frequent flow of politicians into office, allowing for more options for voters as well a guaranteed higher productivity rate. When all goes well, we may even have a shot at an approval rating that’s higher than 13 percent!