Term limits not a good thing

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2007

Term limits are a bad thing. Term limits with a clause penalizing past behavior is a really bad thing.

Some will mention that we have term limits for the president and that makes term limits OK. However, when we look to the Constitution of the United States we may see things differently. Nowhere in our Constitution are term limits discussed. Why is this important?

Our Founding Fathers, who were worried that someone, like a king, might take overwhelming power, believed that our system of voting, where power comes from the populace, would take care of this issue. In other words, the people would decide who they wanted to be in power. Term limits, as an Amendment to the Constitution, actually only came to be in 1947, nearly 200 years after our Constitution was framed. How or why this came to be is the topic for another discussion.

Term limits, although seeming to be a good idea, like the road paved with good intentions, actually accomplish two negative results.

One: Term limits actually limit the power of the people. If the populace actually believes someone is doing a good job for the community, be it local or national, they are told that their comments or their beliefs have no merit. In essence the people are told that their input has no value.

Two: Term limits will actually, in the long run, decrease voter participation. Once again, if the populace believes their input has no value, then our stellar voting percentage of 25 to 30 percent will shrink even further.

Our latest issue with term limits seeks to impose a penalty on those who have already been in office serving the public. In my mind this comes in stark disagreement with the Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the Land.

In article 1, section 9 of our Constitution it is stated, "no ex post facto law shall be passed." That is Latin for "anything done afterward." This means that no one shall be punished for something they did before it became a law.

In my mind that means that even though someone was in office before term limits came into effect they cannot be held accountable for the time they spent in office before term limits were enforced. If that is true, how can we, Constitutionally, kick someone out of office based on past time spent?

Again, term limits do not serve the public well. They only serve to water down and limit the power of the people and the Constitution of this great country.

Mike Gustkey


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