I receive a lot of emails from North Country readers and even a few from folks around the country who find the column online. They respond to my editorials with their own thoughts and opinions. Most are worried about and frustrated with the direction of our government and the self-serving attitude of many of our elected officials.
Some of them wonder what we can do to change the direction of the country.
They wonder how we can rid ourselves of the special interests and lobbyists who have such influence over those we send to govern.
How can we return control to the people?
Well, here is something we can do in this election cycle: ask those running for congressional offices to go on the record in support of a constitutional amendment mandating term limits.
If they are genuinely interested in changing Washington, D.C., they should have not hesitate to pledge their support.
Until we return to citizen legislators, we will have a government controlled by career politicians.
Career politicians were responsible for voting themselves raises, health and retirement benefits and other perks fair above those afforded the average citizen.
Despite the fact that 23 states have passed legislation calling for term limits, the Supreme Court ruled in 1995 that state-enacted term limits on those representing their state in Washington were unconstitutional.
An organization called U.S. Term Limits (USTL), is leading the national movement to limit terms for elected officials.
The U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge has been provided to every announced candidate for federal office. It reads: “I pledge that as a member of Congress I will cosponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit.”
A written copy of the pledge for candidates to sign can be found at ustermlimitsamendment.org.
The U.S. Term Limits Constitutional Amendment has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and the House of Representatives by Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ).
This session of Congress marks the first time in nearly 20 years that a serious term-limit bill has appeared in both houses with co-sponsorship.
According to the a nationwide poll on term limits conducted by Public Opinion Dynamics in September 2010, term limits have wide bipartisan support.
The poll showed that 78 percent of Americans support congressional term limits, including 74 percent of independents.
Major votes on state legislative term limits have been held in California, Maine and South Dakota over the last few years and voters have overwhelmingly supported term limit laws.
To become part of the constitution, a term limits amendment needs a two-thirds majority vote in the both the House and the Senate and subsequent ratification by 38 state legislatures.
Speaking of reader feedback, I received an email from Bob Klima, a senior citizen, who shared the following thoughts on the cultural changes that have taken place in the United States.
“Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary,” Klima wrote.
“We take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others. However, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was not the senior citizens who took the melody out of music, the pride out of appearance, the courtesy out of driving, the romance out of love, the commitment out of marriage, the responsibility out of parenthood, the togetherness out of the family, the learning out of education, the service out of patriotism, the Golden Rule from rulers, the nativity scene out of cities, the civility out of behavior, the refinement out of language, the dedication out of employment, the prudence out of spending, the ambition out of achievement, or God out of government and school.
“We certainly are not the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others.
“We do understand the meaning of patriotism, and remember those who have fought and died for our country.”
Thank you, Bob, and all who have shared their thoughts and concerns.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org