Some Americans argue that imposing term limits will save the country from the political ravishing of career-politicians who care more for reelection than in performing their duties as entrusted by their constituencies. While it may be true that some legislators care more for reelection than in adhering to the Constitution, this point is irrelevant for enacting term limits. The bedrock of our country is the ability of the people to elect new leaders when they dislike or disagree with the job their leaders have performed. Voting reflects the beliefs, biases, knowledge, ignorance, desires, and social temperance of the people. If the people like the results of their leaders, the voters will reelect them into office – regardless of the personal motives of the leader. If the people cannot vote out their elected Representative who is violating the Constitution, what safeguard will term-limits provide from the people reelecting another scoundrel who will violate the Constitution?
Further arguments promoting term limits seek to protect the voting minorities. By reducing the amount of time an elected-leader can serve in office, the minority-voters can be given a greater chance of electing a candidate that reflects their views. This is preposterous. Voting reflects the will of the majority, and, in a society that openly accepts Democracy, the voting citizen should maintain consistency by showing little interest to the losing minority. The minority has never been graciously granted the win. Even if term limits were applied, the majority would continue to elect the new legislator.
By voting in career-politicians, a larger social problem is observed than what term limits will solve. Voters should concern themselves with the motives of their legislators, not just the results the leaders can produce. Reelecting politicians that only care about their occupation shows the apathy and carelessness of the people electing them into office. Changing the face of a career-politician every few terms will not solve the issues of an apathetic and careless society, nor will term limits have any positive influence on an interested and careful society. In fact, term-limits will only provide the illusion of protection, as the people more ignorantly trust term-limits to save them from Constitution violating legislators instead of their own scrutinizing gaze. The people are the problem, not the politicians. Our Republic has a built in term limit policy that is directly connected to the will of the people, and it should stay that way.
Update: March 9th, 2010
I had a recent conversation with a fellow who argued that our elections systems were corrupt and that the voting polls were fixed. He had several convincing examples to illustrate his point. He used these examples to reason that we should support term limits: to get the corruptly elected officials out of office!
While this sounds reasonable, I am still left wondering why this guy thinks that if -- perchance -- our voting system is so corrupt that a candidate was elected through fraud (without being caught), then what made him believe that hosting another election would produce a different type of candidate? Wouldn't the same group who successfully/fraudulently got the last man in to office also have the ability of doing it again after term of years? Term limits would do nothing to solve this problem.
If any particular group has hijacked our elections systems, term limits are the least of our concerns.