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term limit (noun)
– A provision, as in a state constitution or city charter, that restricts the number of terms an elected or appointed official may serve.
– A legal restriction that limits the number of terms a person may serve in a particular elected office.
– The maximum number of terms one may legally serve in a particular elected office.
The writers of the U.S. Constitution addressed the length of the term of office for the president, vice president, senators, and representatives, but they did not place a limit upon the number of terms that one could possibly serve.
Our first president, George Washington, would set the precedent of a president serving no more than two terms when he stepped away from public office at the end of his second term in 1797. This was followed as a tradition until Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran for unprecedented third and fourth terms as president in 1940 and 1944.
This in turn led the U.S. Congress to pass the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1947, that limited all future presidents to just two terms.
While it was a noble gesture to prevent anyone from one day effectively becoming a “president for life,” our Congress did nothing to limit their own terms of office, or their ability to hold high public office for the remainder of their own lives. Credit must be given to those senators and representatives who introduce a Term Limit Bill each time Congress begins a new session, but the remainder of all of Congress, both in the House and in the Senate, must be held accountable for their failure to limit their own power.
Those of us who are of a certain age will recall the issues with Ronald Reagan in his latter years in office. For those that do not recall Reagan, we all have simply to look at the current person sitting in the White House to witness a never-ending list of gaffes, trips and falls, as his mind is clearly suffering from age-related issues.
Breaking the record for oldest elected president that was previously held by Reagan, Joe Biden is the oldest U.S. president to ever be elected to office, and at age 80, has already exceeded the 77-year-old average lifespan for men in the United States. Biden was a liability the day he won office, and should Biden survive to seek a second term, he will turn 82 years old in 2024 (and “if” Biden were reelected, and “if” he doesn’t die of old age before the end of his term, will turn 86 years old in 2028). Time stops for no one, not even a U.S. president.
By the time of her death on September 29, 2023, Dianne Feinstein was the oldest sitting U.S. senator and member of Congress. She was also the longest-serving U.S. senator from California, the longest-tenured female senator in history. At 90 years of age she was also the poster-child of our problem with geriatric politicians, and since the voters of California would not vote her out of office, it took an intervention of God to limit her term of office. Goodbye, and good riddance.
With the current federal retirement age for federal employees set at age 65, our Congress conveniently exempted themselves from the retirement age rule that they passed. There are currently in excess of 50 U.S. senators above age 65, including our own 69-year-old Tommy Tuberville. Over in the House of Representatives, there are in excess of 127 members above 65 years of age, including 68-year-old Gary Palmer of Alabama District 06.
When it comes time to go to the polls again, it is up to you to know which candidates are, or soon will be, over age 65, and to consider who the younger alternatives may be. Also, consider which incumbent has been a publicly elected official for any period in excess of a decade, and vote them out of office. Send them home, and make them live outside of the beltway.
As Alexander Hamilton so eloquently stated in the “Federalist No. 21,” in 1787: “The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men.”
Until “We the People” can elect persons who will actually put the needs of their constituents above their own visions of grandeur, it is up to the American voter to remove every politician from any office by voting them out of their position.
I challenge you, the voter, to look at how long any candidate has already been in office, and if it has been more than a decade, it is time for them to return to the life of the everyday citizen, and it is time for another everyday citizen to step up to actually represent those who put them into their high public office.