I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the 2008 elections are finally over. The bad news is that the 2010 elections are already underway. Ours has become a society of perpetual political campaigns. No one ever takes time to actually govern in the best interest of the people.
We waste trillions of dollars and millions of hours of effort on the political wars, and practically none on protecting our citizens from the abuses of big business, big education, big government, and all other concentrations of power. We desperately need to get back to a society where we the people can lead our individual lives as we wish without constant disruption and intimidation by power groups with loud voices.
George Washington was right when he warned against party politics in his farewell address. We have allowed our society to devolve into a constant war between two major political parties. Any tactics they can use to win elections are adopted. And the losers of elections never accept defeat. They immediately start attacking the winners so as to limit the effectiveness of their governments. This abuse of our society will only end when we find a way to put drastic limits on all political parties.
How can we do that? We can start by enforcing strict term limits. If the legislators will not do that, we the people can do it at the ballot box. If we start voting out politicians who have overstayed their usefulness, we will have a greater chance of influencing them to make needed reforms.
It was never the intention of our founders to have professional politicians in charge of government. Their idea was that we chose people from among our ranks to represent us for a short time, then return to their communities and their normal activities. I think we need to reinforce that idea.
We need a limit to the number of years each individual can serve in elective office. And I mean all elective offices. No one should be allowed to serve more that 20 years total in elective offices, and that includes everything from city council to president. No one should be able to earn a retirement benefit by serving in elective office. Representing the people should be a task, a responsibility, not a primary source of income, or a career.
Another step we ought to take is to set real limits on political donations. Only those people eligible to vote in any election should be allowed to donate money or time to the candidates involved. That means that only registered voters can make donations, and they can donate only to candidates for whom they can vote. As I said, when we select a person to a represent constituency, they should not be expected to represent anyone or any group outside that constituency
Finally, we need to set specific time limits on all political campaigns. For example, we might limit the time for local races to six weeks. Limit the time devoted to state and congressional campaigns to six months, and a strict limit of one year for presidential campaigns.
We have far too much politicking and far too little governing going on here. It is time for a real change!
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://frankgillispie.tripod.com/
I don't believe it, I totally agree with Mr. Gillispie. Many times, heck, almost every time I have disagreed with his comments and thoughts but this time he hit the nail right on the head. Good article Frank. No more millionairs who want more power and money in our government. Vote for the rank and file and have someone speak for us!
This election is an example of how the underdog can win. Obama didn't come from a rich family and have everything given to him like so many previous Presidents, especially Bush. With the election of Obama, we finally have someone who can speak for the common people.
Funny, that's EXACTLY how Barack Obama got his education...with student loans. No silver spoon here. And being the ultimate outsider he actually had to earn respect and votes to win the Presidency. He didn't have it handed to him on a silver platter while losing the popular vote by Daddy-O, Diebold, and the Supreme Court like Bush did. Thanks for proving the point. Glad to see the spoiled brat Bush go. Don't all of you people with no job and no business feel stupid for voting for brat boy Bush now? He took you to the cleaners, boys, and he cleaned you out. He and his oil buddies, the Saudi royal family, and Halliburton pals are laughing at you as they sip martinis in their mansions.