Getting Government Back Into the Hands of the People

WHERE  HAS  COMMON  SENSE  GONE?

(Getting Government Back Into the Hands of the People)

No. 6

Thomas Paine – July  2009.

Fascists to the right of us……Socialists to the left of us…… What are we to do? We seem totally surrounded by the extreme fringes of both major political parties. They each wax and wane in turn, yet we are always left with the feeling we are being driven to financial ruin by a political ruling class that has taken control of our lives while long ago forgetting their purpose for being. We are continually bombarded with messages reminding us if we do not subscribe to the most extreme positions taken by the activists in both major political parties then we are unworthy to call ourselves either Liberal or Conservative, Republican or Democrat. We are the excluded middle, and unworthy to even consider ourselves true Americans, since any form of moderation is viewed by political  activists as disgraceful. How can this be possible. Surely freedom of thought is protected under the freedom of speech provision of the First Amendment. But then again the fringe elements don’t seem to think so, and all too often we acquiesce to their brand of dogma . Why do we do this?

WHERE HAS COMMON SENSE GONE ?

We know that we are deeply concerned by what is happening to our country. We do not fully understand why it is happening. Is it because a virtual litany of code words have been developed to quickly discredit any non-aligned thoughts? Is it because on a personal basis we either do, or do not, support gay rights, abortion, undocumented workers, water boarding, or a myriad of other hot button issues that seemingly always demand our attention. True we should be concerned about these issues, and we should clarify our own personal thoughts with respect to them, but we must also keep in mind that no matter on which side of the issue we reside our judicial system has largely decided for us what our opinions should be and it is well on the way to imposing them on us without benefit of any form of referendum.  Their attitude is……So what if one has to find differing and new meanings in the Constitution of the United States of America. Meanings that hinge on obscure and often irrelevant concepts which have never before been recognized by either our Founding Fathers or by the numerous constitutional scholars who have followed  after them.

We do not like the way the tax code is in a perpetual state of manipulation in order to serve the political will of elected officials and not the well being of the general citizenry.

We do not like the way the people are constantly categorized as either religious or atheists, rich or poor, overly advantaged or woefully disadvantaged, over-achievers or just plane lazy. All of this rhetoric is designed to do two things: Make us believe we must choose one or the other of the main political parties or else find ourselves left out in the cold. Also, and most importantly, it is designed to obscure our vision with respect to how poorly the government is attending to the true will of the people, and how big government is driving our country towards a financial abyss. We do not like this situation but we often feel there is little we can presently do about it.

But there is a way to do something about the present situation. It is a peaceful way and it cannot be filibustered and thus ultimately stopped by the long term politicians. The way to get government back into the hands of the citizens is to institute term limits for all elective politicians.  This can be done at the ballot box by electing Term Limit Independent candidates.

This concept has been suggested before and it has always been shouted down by those with the most to gain by perpetuating political status quo. Lets look at the concept a little more closely instead of dismissing it out of hand as something the incumbent politicians will never allow.  In fact they can disallow it all they want but they cannot stop a term limit movement at the grass roots level. Read on……..

This conceptual change cannot happen through the normal process of constitutional amendments at federal or state levels. The term politicians will continue to place their personal desire for reelection ahead of the interests of the citizens. They will block every attempt at term limits that is in their power to block. They will continue to spend very little time seriously thinking about how to deal with national and state or local problems on a rational level. They will be too busy either actively campaigning to raise funds for reelection or they will be catering to special interest groups which will help them maintain a power base. Any remaining time will be devoted to reviling politicians from the other major political party and creating animosity among differing segments of the general population. They will never, never allow a referendum that limits the term or scope of their power.

To achieve de facto term limits for politicians at all levels will require a huge and sustained effort by voters committed to winning their country back. It will likely take years to achieve full effect, but it can start to have limited effect almost immediately. Just remember if the process is never initiated then it will never happen. The time to start the process is now. Once the process has established some creditability and demonstrated positive results it will become even easier to gain additional support for its concepts and apply them to ever higher levels of government. The general population of citizens will then be regaining effective political control of their country.

Initially the process will be commenced at a more localized level, but with continuing expansion to state and federal levels at every opportunity. Every elective position at city and county level  must be challenged at every election by a Term Limit Independent. A term limit independent is notably different from other candidates now considered to be Independent, Libertarian, or of some other persuasion.

A term limit independent will be bound by the following criteria:

They will serve only one term in any particular elective office in the same jurisdiction. They will not rerun for the same office, in the same jurisdiction, having once been elected to it or appointed to fill an unexpired term. They may run for any other elective office in the same jurisdiction provided they have never served in that office and they meet the qualifications of that office.

They will take a public pledge to reform government along the following lines: i). Cut unnecessary spending. ii). Eliminate subsidies. iii). Restructure entitlements. iv). Raise taxes to balance the budget only after i). ii). iii).  have been acted upon in a structured and competent way, and roll back any tax increase once it is not needed.

They will on an annual basis, in a public forum, and in concert with the time frame of their jurisdictional budget, provide a comprehensive review of the actions that have been taken and what progress has been made with respect to the reform agenda referenced above. They will provide a a general assessment of how well they have been able to perform their statue duties of office.

They will not actively participate in any other political party while either running for election or serving after elected as a term limit independent. They will renounce any prior political party membership or allegiance other than term limit independence.

Once elected, a term limit independent will strictly adhere to the following criteria:

They will provide their jurisdiction with written requirements ( within legal boundaries ) that strongly project these principles: Disengage from any form of nepotism or cronyism. Accept no personal favors or gifts of any tangible value for self, family members, relatives or business associates. Promote efficiency in government within their jurisdiction and eliminate waste as well as any unneeded activity. They will not conduct personal use with any jurisdictional property, or unnecessary personal activity during normal jurisdictional working hours.  They will actively pursue cheaper and more effective ways to accomplish needed jurisdictional activity.

They will meet on an established periodic basis with other term limit independents to establish consensus on ways to revamp and improve cost effectiveness of government and improve services rendered to the public at their respective jurisdictional levels.

They will make every available effort to resist intrusion by higher levels of government into the lives and liberty of citizens, resisting at every opportunity the utilization of the tax code to reward special interests or punish others or to promote social engineering.

They will never support a raise in pay for their elective position that would have effect during their term of office if serving in that position.  If a pay raise is instituted over their objection, they will refuse to accept it or if required to accept it they will publicly  donate it back to a legitimate charitable organization active within their elective jurisdiction.

What is the goal of a term limit independent movement?

The goal is to remove career politicians at every level of government and replace them with citizen office holders. This will allow competent citizens, that might otherwise not do so, to hold elective office since they will not be subjected to the financial pressures brought on by election efforts when running in major party primaries or general elections.

It will also make virtually meaningless the attempts by career politicians or their supporters to engage in character assassination attempts on term limit independent candidates or their families.

The goal is to redirect election campaigns and terms of service to focus on issues and not the qualifications or personal habits of the other candidates. The present state of constant bickering and politically motivated attacks or counter attacks has reduced the objectivity and effectiveness of the various levels of government to its present state of incompetence.

The situation can be made better only if competent replacement candidates carrying no political baggage and insulated from the insidious siren call of power and prominence are elected to serve limited terms. This is a must, since even the best, brightest and most honorable of our citizens will eventually be compromised if allowed to stay in the presence of charlatans and special interest brokers for an extended period of time. Personnel rotation has been demonstrated as an effective tool for innovation and competent thinking for a long time. Business learned this lesson long ago and it is time for our government to learn it also.  One need only to look at individual failures in business and government to see what a deleterious effect is caused by limited personnel rotation.

Once a sufficient number of career politicians have been replaced by term limit elected officials it will be possible to encourage employers to treat the absence of an employee, actively serving a term limit, in a manner similar to the way citizen soldiers are treated during their limited term of military service which takes them temporarily away from their regular job. Obtaining this level of cooperation from employers  will ensure an ever increasing supply of competent term limit candidates who have no other motive than providing a useful service to their country. They will have no need for political favoritism or paybacks.

Even without a clear majority representation at higher levels of government, the increased presence of term limit independents in sufficient numbers will be instrumental in redirecting existing elective officials to reexamine their actions and motives to ensure  they are constitutionally sound and conforming to the best principles of limited but effective government. If the incumbents do not start to move in this direction they will be replaced by a term limit independent at the next election.

This program can succeed and it should be commenced now!

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