Term limits for Congressional members

William T. Robinson, Jr.

We the people of this nation may be doing ourselves a grave injustice by not requiring term limits for our elected congressional members. Too many of our elected representatives in Congress have become comfortable representing their own selfish agendas and cow-towing to big corporations or esoteric groups. Many of these congressional members become so comfortable they become blatant liars insulting the intelligence of the average American citizen. Their arrogance and condescending attitudes are often fueled by knowing they have the support of their loyal constituents who literally give them carte blanche to do as they please as members of their political party.

Career congressional members often do and say as they please, knowing that their designated districts and states will continue to reelect them regardless of their actions. The sad part of this scenario is that the elected official may have been moral, sincere, humble and honest in the beginning, thinking they could make a positive change in governing their communities; however, it seems the longer the politicians stayed in office, the more ostentatious they became in blatantly lying and deceiving the American public—normalizing  immorality in politics. Many politicians feel that making money and acquiring power is as American as apple pie. Politicians taking advantage of the fruits thereof, have no reason to apologize or feel guilty.

Many high profile career Congress members were originally concerned with the mundane problems of average, hard working citizens in their districts and states. The average American citizen knows who these longtime career politicians are. Many feel they should retire, offering others a chance to represent the public. New and innovative ideas should be welcomed, especially from young people who have not been compromised or bought.

Evidently, the numerous benefits and the lure of power and prestige become so strong many congressional members are unwilling to give up their cheesy, cushioned positions. When they do decide to retire, all too often they go to work as lobbyists for PACs and corporations for whom they have advocated. These are congressional members who have learned how to play the game and are basking in the perks and benefits afforded members of Congress, such as healthcare subsidies under Obamacare or free airport parking with free flights. While there are discretionary insider trading restrictions ($1.2-1.3 million), there are annual allowances, a cushioned retirement plan with up to 239 days off, exemption from some federal laws, inroads to later careers as lobbyists for big corporations, and VIP treatment by many prestigious organizations, etc.

Term limits will cap and decimate those congressional dinosaurs engrossed in the privileges, benefits and material trappings of their offices.  Studies have shown time and time again that many congressional members become millionaires if they are not already millionaires when elected.

Some would argue that older career politicians in Congress bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom. That would be a plus if there weren’t so many career politicians using their power to advocate for what many people of color feel is not in the best interests of the country. Blacks, as a whole, see many of these White politicians’ views as stoking racism and promoting White supremacy.

We must honestly look at the makeup of Congress where there appears to be a ‘good ole White boy’ network of middle aged and elderly White men (basically in the Senate) literally  supporting what many people of color see as a White supremacy agenda catering to keeping the White populace above all others. Term limits will allow an influx of new people representing new ideas and new blood, contributing to a more diversified Congress representing the true makeup and concerns of the nation. Representatives in Congress who truly want to serve the people, hopefully, will not be there long enough to become voices representing unfavorable racist groups in specific districts and states.

The prejudicial rhetoric of such politicians as Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham,Ted Cruz and Jim Jordan with their orchestrated, myopic views and orchestrated, vociferous presentations cater to a racist, White supremacist base. The theatrical tirades of these men on the Capitol floor have only highlighted the necessity to have term limits.

Its unlikely congressional members will vote to put term limits on themselves because of the perks and power coming along with the position. But explain why there is a term limit on the highest position in the world (president of the United States) but not on those serving in Congress. Ironically, we put too much stock in our elected politicians doing the right thing, not questioning why so many detrimental policies and laws seem to stay the same. Term limits is the right thing to do.