- to insult the other person's intelligence
- because you yourself are so dim that you don't realize that the obvious is obvious
- because you are are the kind of person who likes to point out the obvious.
So its with irritation and regret that I have to, yet again talk... not exactly politics, I hope... maybe sort of a metapoltics, that avoids the obvious and possibly cuts newer turf. Its the only way I can get these ideas out of my head: writing them down some where. So here we go. Sorry!)
Without trying I could rattle off a long list of terribly important issues being decided in the political world right now. Should I run though some of the list? Just thinking about it makes me tired. Anyhow. About anyone of these issues I could put on my 1950's radio drama voice and say : "This could be the end of freedom and life as we know it!" It might be a little over the top if I did, but I could still say it.
But it would only be a little over the top.
But, even so...
I am starting to believe that all of these issues are a waste of time.
Our current crop of Washington decision-makers are not exactly America's best and brightest minds. The last crop was nothing special either. Neither was the one before that.
It's tempting to think that we were better off with inbred, hereditary dictators. (We weren't).
Our current leaders simply don't have the mental or moral equipment needed to solve the critical issues before us.
And I am starting to believe that if we want to make any progress, we'd better first look at the process by which we wound up putting all these rather drab, uninspiring people in charge. Each election, candidates are drawn from the same blah pool of politicians as the last. Each election amounts to a just another shuffling of an old worn out deck. What we need are some new cards, and maybe a new game, if we ever expect to see a better hand.
The simplest, most obvious, and most bulletproof change that I know of is putting term limits on Congress.
The 22nd amendment limits the President to just two terms of four years each. Why don't we have a similar amendment to cap the amount of time one person can spend in Congress?
Its hard to imagine why anyone (other than a member of Congress) would oppose this fairly obvious concept. It's such an obvious concept, that its pretty hard to understand how we have gone this long without implementing it.
In the 90's the Republican party achieved a majority in Congress in support of just such an amendment, but irritatingly the Democrats (and the fact that this somehow became a partisan issue is a bit pathetic, if you ask me, as well as a pretty freaking good argument in favor of the idea that I have been pushing here, which is that the system has some fundamental flaws) were able to shoot it down because the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to initiate the amendment process. Needing not just a majority but a super-majority of Congress to simultaneously agree to fire itself in order for this basic improvement to take place is such a hilariously exasperating mistake, that if there were a Darwin award for this sort of thing, this error would surely win one. It also explains why we don't have this amendment yet.
Luckily, this actually is not a requirement. It turns out that there are two ways Constitutional amendments can be proposed and going through Congress is only one of them.
It turns out that if 2/3rds of the state legislatures get together and agree, they can propose amendments to the US constitution, and if 3/4ths of them ratify the proposed amendment, it becomes constitutional law, without the US Congress ever touching it. Good thinking, Founders!
I have this impossible fantasy of somehow keeping such an amendment secret from Congress until all the necessary states have signed off on it, and then springing it on the House and Senate as done deal.
I can't think of anything one less employable than a career politician in a representative system of government. Such a creature is inherently non-representative. The phrase 'career representative' is a contradiction in terms. It might be ok for a college professor or pastor to have never held any other kind of job, but in a leader its a pretty bad idea. There is, in fact, already a lot of support for Congressional term limits and I think everybody should check it out. Consider signing this petition, for one. I did.
What I'd like to see is a Congress made of a broad range of professionals and leaders with wildly differing skill sets, experiences and perspectives. I'd like to see the best of the best of American doctors, scientists, business men, religious, social and military leaders, thinkers, entrepreneurs, inventors, taking a short leave of absence from their careers (and adding one heck of a sharp line to their resume in the process) to advocate, create and lead. If America put all its best minds together, as a Congress, the potential would be wicked cool. But no one of any real caliber is likely to leave a successful career to become a career suit-pinhead. So who do we get instead? Lawyers. Not even practicing lawyers. Congress is made out of dead lawyers. Sharp term limits would go a long way towards clearing out the deadwood, making room for some new, intelligent growth.