Total Pageviews

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Restoring Balance And Harmony (Part Five)

(Editor’s note:  Should a lawmaker be permitted the right to serve indefinitely, for unlimited term or duration, in many instances for life?  The final segment --- Part Five --- in this multi-part series on Restoring Balance And Harmony addresses the back end of the legislator’s term of service. 

The solution for reversing the greatest concentration of wealth disparity in American History is no simple task, targeting reform of the legislative branch at three critical junctures: first, before the legislator is elected; second, while the legislator is serving; and third, on the back end of the legislator’s term of service.

The solution’s first component calls for the abolition of gerrymandered districts, the second for an end to the filibuster custom.  This final segment brings us to the third and final component.

Third, on the back end of legislative service, George Washington’s precedent of executive term limit must be extended on a constitutional basis to the legislative branch.

If lawmakers are made to understand that they are out of office after a time certain --- returned to private life with strict, transparent limitations on future economic dealings at government expense --- they will possess little incentive but to act conscientiously in the affairs of the people.  Their perpetual concern about re-election as a distracting self-interest proposition and corruptive force will have been effectively removed.

In both the House of Representatives and the Senate, a limitation of twelve (12) years in elected office is suggested as a flexible starting point for discussion.  Those who come to view their place in the federal government as a hereditary or privileged entitlement will be removed by the regular operation of law, so that fresh, new, ordinary blood can renew the people’s fight.

Theodore Roosevelt did not believe

that any man should ever attempt to make politics his whole career.  It is a dreadful misfortune for a man to grow to feel that his whole livelihood and whole happiness depend upon his staying in office.  Such a feeling prevents him from being of real service to the people while in office, and always puts him under the heaviest strain of pressure to barter his convictions for the sake of holding office.  A man should have some other occupation … to which he can resort if at any time he is thrown out of office, or if at any time he finds it necessary to choose a course which will probably result in his being thrown out, unless he is willing to stay in at cost to his conscience.

Steering this proposal into law will serve to render a legislative seat more responsive to the will and strengthened vote of the ordinary citizen and not to concentrated economic power.  Consequently, lawmakers will regain their rightful place as the impartial umpire in the affairs of the people’s business set on a level playing field.

This proposal does, however, contain one catch.  And it is a major catch.  Unfortunately, lawmakers cannot reasonably be expected to legislate away in regular session privileges they have devised, perfected and come to expect and enjoy for themselves by tradition over the course of more than two centuries.  This is to be anticipated in the context of human nature’s important lesson --- that reasonable people will act reasonably in their own best interest.

To implement change for the greater good, we must provide favorable conditions without the constraints of today’s competing, partisan ideologies.  It is apparent that these reforms simply cannot be accomplished, therefore, absent a national constitutional convention called specifically for this purpose.  Delegates to the convention must be pledged solely to the great unfinished business of the nation, not to partisan, special or self-interest.

Herein lies the problem.  Does the ordinary citizen possess the courage to meet this challenge?

-Michael D’Angelo