Time for the Voters to Take Back Control

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who took office only this month, is the most recent elected official to come popping out of the clown car that seems to be at center stage in our politics. He has announced that he will not defend in court the validity of Virginia’s ban on same sex marriages, saying that he “cannot and will not defend a law that violates Virginians’ fundamental constitutional rights”. That’s his opinion, of course, not the opinion of any court.

Political freelancing is occurring all over the place, and I have had enough. I don’t really have much of a side in the gay marriage debate, but it provides an excellent illustration for what is happening to us. We have a system of government, and our elected officials are obligated to uphold the law, not make things up as they go along. If they don’t like a law, they are obligated to try to lead the legislative bodies to change it. In the meantime, validly enacted laws need to be enforced.

Herring has great role models. President Obama and Attorney General Holder both decided not to enforce the Clinton-signed Defense of Marriage Act. Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane takes the same position on enforcement of Pennsylvania’s version of the same law. Ditto the Governor and Attorney General of California, in refusing to defend Proposition 8 – which was approved by the voters in their state. Even the Norristown (PA) Register of Wills got into the act, deciding on his own that he would issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite what the law said.

Add to this the increasing incidence of law by regulation and executive order, a dysfunctional Congress whose members seem to have no backbones, and we have arrived at a crisis point in our democracy.

What can be done to allow the voters to regain control? Almost everybody agrees that Congressional term limits would help, but fat chance of that happening anytime soon, as our Senators and Congressmen seem to enjoy their comfortable sinecures. The “Freedom Amendments” proposed by writer Mark Levin lead off with term limits, and the Convention of States movement is gaining momentum for a constitutional convention called not by Congress, but by the states.

But this is a long and uncertain road, and does not effect any of the other state and local offices in which incumbents feel that they can do whatever they please, without consequence.

I therefore propose we take full advantage of 2014 as an election year, and institute the “citizen enforcement of term limits” movement.

Beginning with the November elections, I call on all citizens to vote against any incumbent running for re-election to any office. This includes senators, congressmen, state legislators, city council members, school board members, dogcatchers and absolutely everybody in between. This will have the effect of imposing term limits on all offices that don’t currently have them.

I know, I know. This will seen by the chattering classes as naive, draconian and ham-handed, and will result in good public servants being tossed out along with the bad actors. But sometimes you need to break a few eggs to make an omelet, and that will be the price we have to pay.

After a couple of election cycles, when this voter practice takes root, the following will become evident to the political parties and the office holders:

If a party re-nominates an incumbent, they will surely lose. Therefore, fresh candidates will be offered up in each election cycle.

Once a candidate wins office, he or she knows there is only one term of office available, and presumably these new officials will act in the interests of the constituents, and not in their own self-interest of long-term preservation in office.

If all of the voters heed my call, take up their (figurative) torches and pitchforks, and follow me to the polls in November, we can begin our quest to take back our government. It may take a few election cycles to catch on, but eventually we can achieve victory.