Published on February 8th, 2015 | by Leonard Jackson


Can We Continue to Ignore Limited Service In Government?

Inevitably after every election, which means every two years, the discourse resumes in greater intensity regarding the qualifications, character, longevity and overall suitability of the people who have intruded themselves into our households for the past several months. Shortly after the votes are counted and the post election rhetoric has begun most all of us wake up with that same familiar voters’ remorse. Who are these people and what were we thinking? Is this really the best we can find to manage the affairs of this nation for the next two, four or six years?

By all indications this is a trend that worsens each voting season and shows no signs of lessening; in fact it’s gaining momentum at an alarming rate. The Professional Politician is here to stay and, unfortunately, seems to present an even greater detachment from the real world than ever before. The game of politics, like all things involving losing and winning, and money and power, and status and fame has reeled out of control and, in this writer’s opinion, has no hope of righting itself without drastic changes. The game is basically the same, it’s the players that it now attracts who have changed the way the game is played.

Since our nation’s beginning there have always been those who, for the best of patriotic reasons, set out to serve their country for a period of time, planning to return to their former life when their services were no longer needed. Unfortunately, that time would never arrive. In short order they were caught up in the glamor, power and public attention afforded those serving our nation and convinced themselves that the country would suffer greatly without their valuable expertise and knowledge. That’s when the time-honored practices of Washington begin to take their toll and efficiency and common sense vanish into that black hole where all sensible ideas and plans go to die in our nation’s capitol.

There were also those “of means” who somehow equated their family’s status for the last few generations to a combination of extraordinary intelligence and an imperialistic authority granted them by some higher power. Therefore, it would be the grandest of benevolent gestures to give of themselves to the country and its millions of unenlightened citizenry in a time of need. They too eventually seem to become bored with the whole “governing business” thing and lose this feeling of moral obligation and settle in to securing their names onto the proper “A” invitation lists. They complete their national service when their term is over, but with the built-in impregnable incumbency advantages in place, that could mean another twenty or thirty years without much effort or expenditure in campaigning and even less in governing.

termlimitsBut, where these groups at least could contribute something positive on occasion and provide a modicum of civility in the process, we have now cultivated another group that appears to be the fastest growing, and most dangerous faction yet. These people have started their careers at the entry level and worked up. They chose this “game” of politics as some have chosen medicine or law or some honorable profession. They went to college, majored in what we call Political Science with the expressed objective from the outset to run for pubic office and devote their lives to winning elections and gaining power in the state houses all the way to perhaps the ultimate goal – the White House.

They have never gained any experience or knowledge of basic economic principles or group management or any of those skills that might be helpful in future challenges. They run on a mind-set now of “us against them” and win or lose will not reconcile. If they win they will try to push their agenda into law without equivocation and if they lose they will try to block every piece of legislation proposed by the opposition at all costs without any regard to its merit or to what benefit it might be to the nation. This is a game of winners and losers and, although the winners change from one election to the next, the losers are always the same – the people who ultimately write the checks – you and me the taxpayers.

For the most part the type of individual we are sending to Washington today is incapable of making any progress towards addressing this problem. True, there are some new faces and some hopeful signs that there is a greater recognition of the need and a stronger inclination to make some drastic, but necessary, changes. We must have people in all three branches of government who are independent of any future employment constraints and can seriously deal with the obvious shortcomings of the present system. They must be able and willing to make tough, unpopular decisions cutting overlapping programs and eliminating wasteful accesses that have accumulated over generations of uncontrolled spending; doing all this while the statists squeal and the left-leaning media paint pictures of widows and orphans starving in the streets.

There are two conditions that will have to be met to give this reclamation any hope. First, the selection of candidates for public office (from both sides) must be selected on the basis of a limited service inclination and secondly, and by far the most important, we the voting public must be prepared to select those people dedicated to truly rescuing the country; which means we must be willing to support those who will be wiling to take strong measures necessary to save us from the fiscal disaster we are surely facing today.

People keep telling me this is impossible. That it would never be successful in today’s environment in Washington or in Main Street USA. I have a different view. Certainly, I don’t expect to see a noticeable change in one election or even five, but I do believe that if our laws depicted a definite time of service we would be electing a different kind of candidate who is not concerned about the consequences in making these tough decisions. I also believe (and this may be more important than you think) it will remove all the guilt or reluctance to vote against the old popular senator who by law cannot seek another term and must do what the rest of us do retire or find gainful employment in another field. If we can they can.

No, this may not be feasible any more and especially any time soon, but unless some kind of limited service restrictions are established we won’t have to worry about nation’s future. We won’t have one.

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About the Author

As I prepare my “reentry” into the e-world of blogging, I am advised that I should provide my prospective audience with a brief biographical résumé covering my life’s work and future aspirations so that I, and my work, can be properly categorized and thus judged in the proper venue. Since I will be joining a new group in just a few short months, it came to my attention that for a quick summary I can cover my life span in 20 year segments that pretty well sum up the route that I took to get to where I am today. In December, the Lord willing, I will become a member of that esteemed group known as Octogenarians. . Now that may be a disturbing, even scary, pigeonhole for some folks to find themselves assigned to, but I’m beginning to realize some real benefits from being maturity advantaged. The first 20 years I grew up, was educated and began my married life and my career. Second period was about 20 years in the cotton business in Memphis, TN. Trading this commodity in the world’s largest inland cotton market. Third period was spent in the municipal bond industry in Memphis, Houston TX Chicago and finally to my present home in Kansas City, MO. The fourth 20 years I served as a registered investment adviser to a number of individual clients which I continue to do in a semi-retired capacity. In addition to all this, over all these years, I have been blessed with a loving wife of sixty years, four children, four grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and a menagerie of grand horses, dogs, cats and a donkey. Providentially, none of these, except of course my patient wife, are still living in the family home. And now the fifth period will be consumed in my new career. For the first time in all the years I have an opportunity to share my opinions with the world. I can truly express my thoughts without regard to any extenuating conditions. I can just say how I feel about any subject. How liberating. Let the blogging begin!!!! By the way – what I do in the next period remains to be seen and depends on how well I do in the fifth period.

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