“Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reasons.” — John Wallner, Libertarian Political Candidate
This quote, often misattributed to Mark Twain, summarizes an attitude towards politicians perhaps shared by the majority of Americans. Long term leaders are equated with tyrants and corruption. But haven’t many great and well-liked leaders of history presided over long reigns? To press further I have a few more questions:
If a woman is dating, who is more likely to look out for her lifetime interests, a husband or a series of short term relationships?
If you are going to be sharing your financial interests with someone, who do you trust more, someone whom you have just met (who is eager to take control), or someone whom you’ve dealt with and established some trust?
Who is more proficient at his job, someone who has just begun or someone who has over a decade’s worth of experience?
Why then, if long term relationships and professionals are usually preferable, do we regard the idea of long-term leaders as negative, un-American, or even frightening?
More importantly, if we are sailing vigorously toward the maelstrom (as most Western countries are), shouldn’t we desire a helmsman who can steer us out of danger’s way? And if we find one, should we reverse course and head back towards destruction again because his term limit is up?
In recent years Russia has used democratic election and China has used a meritocratic system to select leaders which appear to be permanent. No blood was shed, and these leaders seem to be concerned for their own countries’ success and well-being (but not for America’s).
Shall we put our freshmen up against their old hands in the game of international politicking? And how will our first year politician fare against the international financiers and monopolists who desire global control?
The way I see it, the process of voting is a little like dating. You choose to go on a four year date with a leader to see how things go. If there’s someone who not only has a vision which matches the society, but is also trustworthy and effective then—well, maybe an extension of term and power is in order. But if you’ve already decided you will never have a long term leader and his powers are always limited, you’re stuck in the noncommittal phase, floundering about in pursuit of ever-changing “life goals” for the country.
I understand that the original vision of America was to have limited government and encourage self-reliance; but the days of militias is over. In this time of waning American preeminence, there are so many forces trying to pull America’s strings in different ways that we’re coming apart at the seams. Isn’t a clear, unified direction better?
The American government is getting pushed around at every corner. When we build infrastructure, we pay too much. When we fight wars, we fight for others’ interests (although we’re told we are fighting for justice and peace). When we implement significant new policies, they are the product of special interest lobbies—and don’t you sometimes get the feeling like some of the issues being pushed in our society come from subversive forces with malicious intent?
In the end, we have to defend ourselves the best way we can. Theoretically, the ideal leader is an “avatar” of the people, embodying the public spirit, desiring to carry out the public will, and having enough power to do so. This may seem a long way off in America with our divided public, untrusted media, and strong lobbies; but it could be these very things that people collectively become fed up with that serves to unify us.