22nd Amendment to the Constitution
toby last edited by toby
Also known as How to Prevent an American Royal Family
A good article recounting bipartisan support and cooperation to enact the 22nd Amendment to The Constitution seventy years ago this week, following F.D.R.'s four year tenure and abuses of power via, e.g. the WPA, in efforts to further cement his stranglehold on the presidency. Who knows how long his tenure would have been if he'd not died when he did.
Various sycophant proxies have since endeavored to overturn the 22nd Amendment, e.g. Ronald Regan's presidency. Heck, we now know Nancy was running most of that show, especially post assassination attempt brain damage. Whatever you may, or may not think of Ronald Regan is not the issue. The issue is that Nancy was not elected to office of the presidency. I find this disconcerting for a supposed democracy.
I agree w/the article author's opinion that we need to go further and extend it to ensure protection from "family dynasties". A few cases in point: The Bushs and the Clintons. Many, if not most, Republicans I know capable of critical reasoning regret their support of G.W.B. in hindsight. Similarly Democrats I know who supported Hillary in 2016 (although most of those folks admittedly did so because the DNC screwed them out of Bernie). I do not want to get into tribalism: Which is why I just took care to provide both red and blue examples. The point being that historically, this has not panned out well. I think we need to address it. But how?
Maybe a 28th amendment. Hell, we're so dysfunctional now I doubt anything would get a two thirds majority in the Senate. What else? The author mentions a couple I'd not previously considered:
Rejecting Reagan enthusiasts’ calls for repealing the 22nd, in 1988 William F. Buckley wrote that the “political metabolism of the American people” uses up its leaders fast enough to make eight years feel like quite long enough. The internet having quickened that metabolism, there is a good case to be made for “once you lose, you’re out.”
Alternatively, we could go back to Dirksen’s 1947 proposal to limit the president to a single six-year term. Second terms, after all, have generally not seen distinguishing achievements comparable with first terms. Again, republican government would be enhanced by getting personalities out of the way rather than letting them settle in as permanent fixtures.
Okay, but what about the downsides?
Are there costs to such prohibitions? They might occasionally deprive of us an exceptional talent, like John Quincy Adams. But mostly, they feel like an affront to our own collective judgment. Are American voters really so easily captivated? Yes, as it turns out: We are all too human. If the beginning of 2021 has taught us nothing else, it is that we can’t always count on self-discipline. Sometimes we need clear rules as well.
Emphasis added to the quote above.
What do you think. Is intelligent, well reasoned respectful discussion and debate even possible anymore? One may always hope. I'd welcome that discussion.
David Harris last edited by
Is intelligent, well reasoned respectful discussion and debate even possible anymore?
It may not be. This comment below came from a recent essay on climate change denialism, but it is applicable to so much more...
"A substantial fraction of our elected officials as well as certain media outlets and parts of our population as a whole have checked out of the reality-based community."
To disagree about details, or how some facts or trends should be interpreted is one thing. To say "It doesn't matter what you say. I know what's right and nothing you can say will change my mind." is religion.
How, for example, can you discuss term limits on political office with someone who believes that Donald Trump is destined to regain the Presidency on March 4, at which time he will oversee the round-up and punishment of the pedophile cult of elitists, celebrities, and senior Democrats that has been running the Deep State and driving the US into the arms of the devil?
How do you discuss whether you, as a gay man or woman, deserve the same marriage rights as straight people, with a fundamentalist Christian whose response is that God's law stipulates that marriage may only be between one man and one woman?
The list could go on and on, but the bottom line is that, while there are still people who can reasonably disagree with one another, and come to a useful compromise, an increasing share of the world's population has, as pointed out in the quote above, "checked out of the reality-based community."
As to term limits, why limit the limits to the Presidency? Can the same argument not be applied to Senators? Representatives? Mayors? Governors? City councillors? School Board Trustees?
toby last edited by toby
@David-Harris Good points, all. I want to leave room here for others to comment w/o taking over the conversation but I'll share a few thoughts.
I believe that elected officials should view themselves "public servants" and, as such, engage in political office as a temporary service, or contribution, if you will, to the betterment of the society at large, not as a lifetime career path to a cushy retirement and millions in the bank. Hence, I have long been a supporter of term limits. Unfortunately career politicians have been entrenched so long and deeply that they've become audacious enough to repeal grassroots initiatives passed by majority of local voters. I'm told that has happened twice in Idaho w.r.t. state congressional term limits. Indeed, many of these career politicians have never held any other job outside of politics. Post college adult life at least. One such example would be Mitch McConnell who caught a gig as a senator's aid out of college and has been a permanent fixture ever since. How the heck is somebody who has never held a job in the real world supposed to represent "We the People" when there is zero shared, common experience? I am quite sure there are other examples from the other side of the isle but they elude me just now. The point remains the same. And if history is any indication, no way, no how are we ever going to get the legislators to legislate themselves out of a career dynasty gig filled with perks. So let's not even try going there.
I prefer rather to limit the focus of discussion on the presidency for several reasons. Not the least of which is here in the U.S. we supposedly have three equal branches of government. All except the executive branch require multiple individuals coming to some agreement or consensus. The executive branch, by contrast, concentrates power in a single individual. Hence, a rogue actor in this position presents the greater threat.
As for those who've lost, given up, or never acquired critical reasoning skills, discernment, choose dogma over all else... I don't know. For some there may be hope. I think it is incumbent upon the rest of us nurture our better selves and model more appropriate behaviors. Man has learned via mimicry of those they respect, envy, etc. since the dawn of time. Indeed, before the Internet, television, radio, and even the written word (which are all "merely" more efficient mechanisms of distribution). Hopefully a fraction may learn from our better example and cultivate such in themselves. Then maybe a few more after that. And maybe, just maybe, some of those folks will become role models for others. We did not get here overnight. It is a deep hole. No quick remedies. But we have to start somewhere.