Term limits has its benefits
This will be the last edition of the Pea Ridge Times before the Nov. 6 election therefore our continuing interest in politics, and what and who to vote for, is the major topic of discussion. If we could find a way to have 95 percent of the voters go to the polls, as we frequently read some other countries enjoy, it would be outstanding. And, if we had all those voters informed on all the issues and the qualifications of the candidates, our nation would be a far superior place to live. The sad thing is always the same; voter turn-out will be too low and too many people will wait too long to be informed on the major issues before Nov. 6.
The State Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s office have been reviewing the proposed issues that could change our State’s Constitution and removed Issue 3. It would have put the term limits question on the ballot for a voter referendum. This would have been a reversal of the last election when a rather sneaky hidden addition to another piece of legislation was used to changed the previous election’s results. I continue to question why Issue 3 was taken off this year’s ballot. It is hard to believe it is not a victim of legislative politicians who fear a voter reaction to the recent abuses of office by members of both legislative bodies.
Finding really qualified, serious candidates for any office, city, county, state or federal is not always easy. The rewards of political office both in areas of influence and financial compensation can attract both good and bad candidates. Serious, really qualified candidates who want to serve their constituents rather than meet their own personal needs are not always easy to find. The cost of campaigning continues to grow as you get deeper into the “power realm” of the positions. Also the need of the political parties to either stay in power or take over the office from an incumbent have a major effect on the choice of electable candidates. The simple truth is most individuals cannot afford to personally finance their campaign to challenge an incumbent of any party. Just having time (or making time) to campaign can be a strain on the family, time-wise much less absorb the cost to the family’s budget.
My experience on the County’s Quorum Court was my first political activity and it is an eye-opening challenge. There is no other experience that I know of which is as gratifying, challenging and time consuming. Serving in a political office is a way to give back to a nation or a community if one chooses. However, it is also a learning experience about the dark side of politics — the money and the opportunities to be influenced by the individuals who have it.
Because our political system was established to be a citizen’s government (you may argue that point if you desire), I believe career politicians should be held in check by term limits. The upside would be an opportunity for serious and dedicated people to start qualifying themselves for office by learning more about the various government offices. Term limits can provide incentive for them to consider making a contribution to society through politics without having to fight the political connections of an entrenched incumbent. The downside, of course, is the loss of experience in a particular office. My contention is simply that few people are willing to fight the system which is designed to keep “experienced,” politically connected, people in the office they hold to secure the objectives of their party.
The power of a U.S. Senator can best be demonstrated by the open seat in Florida where multiple millions of dollar will be spent by the two major parties in an election where the winner’s margin will probably be a fraction of a percent — but the winning political party could influence national decisions by holding the seat. Only the political parties know the true value of a U.S. Senate seat. This leads to the power of money affecting us nationally and it is just as true in county politics and probably city politics.
A (financially) poor person with the very best of qualification, work experience, personality, education, etc. is not likely to move in the proper social
They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759