I have always considered myself a philosophical and constitutional purist. Thus I have always opposed political term limits. After all, democratic principles should guarantee my right to reelect a superb representative until death, mine or his.
However, it has now become apparent that politicians are solely self-interested equivocators (the term “liars” being too coarse). I always thought that their words held meaning. That I could, at least infrequently, rely on their promises. That they are employed by me to pursue the general welfare of their constituency and of our nation. Ideally, their positions could be equated with that of a housekeeper, landscaper, or plumber. They are hired to do a job and the job gets done.
It has become increasingly apparent that, in reality, all our politicians share two bipartisan goals: financial success and reelection for additional financial success.
It is toward the attainment of this second goal that our politicians are willing to dedicate as much of our money as is required, in the form of legislated earmarks, pork-barrel spending, or other bribery. A few research grants here, a community building there, will buy a bunch of votes. During the recent budget debate, President Bush asked Congress to cut back on the number of earmarks. Imagine a bank president asking his employees to embezzle only half as much as last year!
I think that this latest sleight of hand by Senator Trent Lott is representative of a universal attitude pervading the hollow hallowed halls of our federal government. Senator Lott just announced his resignation, effective anytime before 1 January 2008.
As of the first of the year, an elected official must wait a full two years after holding office before he can hire himself out as an influence peddler, a legal lobbyist.
This can be onerous. After all, why bother to run for office in the first place if one must wait so long to achieve the ultimate prize? So against his will, the senator has little choice but to resign quickly, in order to effectively skirt this new law.
Senator Lott is an affable person and I reluctantly single him out only as a representative example of our representatives. I survey the federal landscape and see no politician who would not avail himself of the same opportunity for personal aggrandizement.
However, it can be argued that our honorables have no right to make such decisions for themselves. When a candidate runs for office, he expresses the pretext that he intends to fulfill campaign promises and serve a full term, to the best of his ability, so help him God. It is subject to these conditions that we voted for him.
Since grousing is cheap, I also propose a solution.
I was intending to offer myself as a candidate for all Senate and House races, in all fifty states. But residency requirements would render this strategy impractical. So I propose that all Americans write in the name “John Brown” for all federal senate and house races nationwide. There is a John Brown living in each state of the union. And since there is no way of knowing the party affiliation of John Brown, this fact will ensure a nonpartisan election. It will be all of us together against all of them! True separation of polloi and state.
By the time election officials figure out which John Brown was elected in each state, it will be abundantly clear that all incumbent senators and reps need to go home and find honest employment.