Is it Time for Term Limits for Members of Congress?
America is growing restless with Congress demanding change to be delivered, according to recent protests and reports. It is general knowledge that in the game of American politics there is a lust for controversy. It seems, though, that the topic of establishing term limits in Congress has steamrolled in and proven to fulfill the gap in both rolls very nicely.
Headlines, for some time now, have publicized everywhere about American displeasure in Congress. According to Realclearpolitics. com, the Congressional approval rating is 12.4 percent. A suggestion that seems to have gained more support than the rest is that offered in the form of term limits. But are these term limits truly going to provide all of the solutions that America hungers for?
Professor Christopher DeRosa, Associate Professor of history here at the University, believes that the individuals in American society demanding harsh restrictions, such as term limits, must be very cautious in doing so. “Term limits are an anti-democratic measure. You want to be very careful about instituting antidemocratic measures we don’t really need. Americans already have the right to limit the term of any senator or representative they choose by not reelecting them. Term limits would deprive you of the right of keeping an especially good legislator. We do not have an abundance of good legislators, so perhaps we should not force ourselves to get rid of the ones we have,” said DeRosa.
Professor Michael Phillips- Anderson, Assistant Professor of Applied Communication here at the University, sides with DeRosa about term limits not really being this great device that it has been built up to be. “If you want your member of Congress out, you can always vote for another candidate. People complain about members of congress being there too long, but I really think they mean that members of Congress who they don’t like have been there too long. It’s true that members who serve for a long time may lose touch with their constituents, but it is a job that requires a great deal of knowledge and experience to perform well,” Phillips-Anderson contends.
If term limits are an anti-democratic measure, then why are the American people demanding them. DeRosa has a theory. “I think people are aware of the venal relationships between politicians and their financial backers, and realize to some extent that it is built into the system. Therefore, they think they can cleanse the system by pouring fresh-faced, uncorrupted innocents into congress and getting rid of anyone who has been in the system a long time. But it doesn’t really work that way. New representatives are certainly no more independent of their backing machinery than old ones,” states DeRosa.
Sophomore Matthew Gorye, a political science major, however believes that these set limits in Congress are exactly what America needs. “How are we supposed to continually move on and further ourselves if we have the same people making all of the decisions all of the time? New blood is needed to bring about new thoughts, and these term limits in Congress will keep that cycle going and regulating. Not to mention that it will also keep any power hungry behavior at bay since Congress members would only have a set time in that position,” mentions Gorye.
First year communication major, Ashley Martinez, agrees with Gorye about the term limits in Congress and points out that these set time limitations might even make those in Congress work more proactively. “If these term limits are put in place then the people in Congress affected by it will more than likely try to get more work done since they have such a condensed timeline to work under, ergo more work will be done.”
Nonetheless, trends and thoughts once renounced for their ingenuity soon become obsolete as newer, more innovative ideas come into the picture. It is this cycle that has brought about the battle of tradition versus progress, and in this case, if there should be is term limits. Nothing is set in stone yet, but perhaps some day in the future Congress members will be counting down their days until their limit, much like the those who hold the office of President do.