Our democracy is doomed because voters and elected office holders are solely concerned with their own self interests.

Professor Alexander Taylor’s prediction, in the 1780s, that democracies can’t last was prescient. He maintained that “[Democracy] can only exist until voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.”

Doesn’t this describe what is happening in the United States today? Haven’t we voted to use money from the public treasury for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, subsidized housing, and student loans that are fiscally unsustainable? Currently, there are plans for a national health insurance program; another potential government boondoggle. There’s little chance of convincing a majority of citizens not to support candidates, who bring entitlement programs to them.

The loophole in the Constitution, not providing term limits for public office, allows individuals to make a career of politics. A career, as a member of Congress, has become attractive because of the financial benefits, the media attention, and the generous perks. The cost of campaigning for office in Congress has increased steadily to the point that candidates must raise millions of dollars to run for membership in this elite club. Money has become the essential ingredient to enter the election process, thereby reducing competition against incumbents. The other manifestation of this sad state of affairs is the increase in the length of time campaigns are conducted. Incumbents spend more and more time away from their offices raising money and campaigning. Legislators fulfilling obligations to campaign contributors are compromising their duties of office. Special interests have seized the representation owed constituents. Career politicians, to preserve their jobs, harm this nation in many ways i.e.  wasteful earmarks, gerrymandering, voting the party line, hindering confirmation of presidential nominees, and filibustering worthwhile legislation. One of their most destructive, vote-getting activities is pandering to voters’ zeal for public funds by passing entitlement programs that will bankrupt this nation. There isn’t any possibility of convincing incumbents to end their careers.

One method of stopping the destructive momentum that is transforming this Republic is to limit the terms of public office. There are only a few procedures for establishing constitutional term limits and all are nearly impossible to accomplish.

·       A Constitutional Amendment is realistically unachievable. When there were only 13 states, the Founders of this country purposely made passing amendments difficult. Difficult became insurmountable now that there are 50 states.

·       In Article V of the Constitution, there is a provision for convening a Constitutional Convention. Members of Congress will not approve a constitutional convention that would limit their careers. To date, Congress has never approved a Constitutional Convention.

·       States are unable to limit the terms of office of their federal representatives and senators following the 1995 Supreme Court decision of U.S. v. Thornton.

·       Lastly, there is the extremely remote possibility that the Supreme Court would hear and rule in favor of a case seeking term limits on the basis that members of Congress are representing themselves rather than representing their constituents and/ or states as specified in the Constitution.

It is agonizing watching short sighted citizens and career politicians slowly smother this wonderful nation. I realize that my well intentioned effort to reform the government was an impossible dream. My attempts to persuade Americans to change can be compared to my chances of winning the lottery, but I did buy a ticket. It is a pity that future generations won’t enjoy the quality of life and freedoms that I enjoyed.

Sadly, in the face of these incontrovertible facts, I’m ending my quest to make this a more perfect union, by discarding the Democracy Conservative Foundation, abandoning its web site, and discontinuing my weekly blogs. Thanks for your support. I wish all of you the very best.

Art Woodrow

THE DEMOCRACY CONSERVATOR FOUNDATION

www.DemocracyConservator.org

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