President elect, Donald Trump, is calling for term limits as part of his 100 day package. On the surface that might seem like a solution to some of our political pains, but the reality is, it takes away a fundamental right from the American people.
Term limits are one of those things that make a nice little sound bite or meme on social media, but are really meaningless. We, the people, already have term limits on our elected officials; they’re called elections. And until we, the people, actually fully exercise that right, we cannot blame the office holders for staying in office too long.
The American public has become lazy when it comes to getting out to vote for candidates and policies. The few that do show up on Election Day to cast their votes are the ones that get to make the choices for the rest of their community and country. Until everyone or even 50% of the public gets out to vote, then we can’t say we’ve really given that fundamental right a fare chance to do what it was designed to do.
Term limits just passes the responsibility of changing who’s in office more frequently to an artificial mechanism. Instead we should be using the power that is entrusted to us. And if an elected official is doing well in the position that we elected them to, then let’s keep them in office. If they aren’t, then lets vote them out.
The second part of the issue is we, the people, aren’t playing a very active roll in helping put candidates forward that represent the will of the community. A small handful of action groups are the ones who are cultivating candidates and investing in them. Since it has become so expensive to run for most offices, we are relying on only people with means to enter the contest.
Term limits wont get us better candidates. We have to do that by taking an interest in who runs for office. We have to invest time and resources into cultivating candidates who represent our ideas, culture, community, values, gender, race and even our economic background. That takes time and commitment from both the votes and the candidates wishing to serve.
So wake up America. Let’s not give away our right to vote to term limits because it makes a fun meme on social media. Let’s honor that right and take the time to vote someone out of office that needs to go, but also take the time to find good ones to serve. Let’s place a value on servant leadership and elect people that reflect that value. Term limits wont get us better leadership- we have to do that.