Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Term Limits

Politics is a strange profession alright.

But it is a profession just like others. There are plenty of strange ones, too. To be sure the degree of strangeness is logarithmically proportionate to the perspective of the viewer. I suppose that is another way of saying we are all strange, or individuals anyway.

Just like any other profession the longer you do it the better you get at it or you should at least. I was thinking the other day about various things I've done in my life. Sometimes I read about other people that have done all sorts of adventurous things and I think my own path has been pretty straight and boring. I said that to someone not long ago who thought I was out of my mind and rehearsed for me a lot of the stuff I've gotten to do thus far. Apparently I am not quite done. Or at least I am not quite as done as I had thought anyway.

I grew up on a farm and did farming and ranching things. I went to college and studied math and physics when it wasn't so popular. I was there at the beginning of so many things. TV, Israel, computers, Internet, hand held phones, and space exploration to name only a few.

Surely the work I've done that's been the "most" in nearly every category (most difficult, most different, most rewarding, and so on) is caregiving.

Anyway I was not so good at any of these various things when I started as when I ended. That's just the way work is. I've noticed before that a lot of things require a little knowledge and lot of practice. Granted some natural skill is useful because so many things are as much or more art than technology.

Anyway I figure politics is the same way.

I remember one time when I was a grade school student we went on some kind of field trip. Our school was small enough then that field trips could still happen. When a school gets too big though it is hard to do field trips I've noticed. But this particular field trip was to the State of Oklahoma Capitol building where we watched a legislative session from a balcony and met several officials although the details escape me right now.

This was arranged by one of my classmate's fathers who was a politician we were told. That's the first time I recall knowing that someone could be one. He wasn't an elected politician but one of those people who work in and for government.

I have no idea now what he did or even his name or which one of my fellow students claimed him. But I still remember that trip and watching the legislators do their jobs and being awed by the grandeur of the building and being just amazed at the process.

When I visited Washington, D.C. the first time I remember feeling a similar sense of awe that I was standing in actual, real places where events had occurred that I had read about. In a way that trip made me realize that the people who filled the history I had learned really were just people and just like me. Realizing that increased my awe and amazement all the more. Also made me realize that people including me can do a lot.

We have some really good officials in our little town which is not so little anymore. The mayor has been there a really long time now and I think he's done a remarkably good job. I attended a council meeting Monday night is what made me think of this.

Our developer was there and spoke and the City Council passed approval of our plat and an incentive package necessary for the project to move forward. I kept my mouth shut and so had no problems with being blunt. The turmoil in the financial markets did not help our cause any. One thing about though is that there is not much more I can do to and when you reach that point you might as well rest.

But, being at the council meeting caused me to think. I was thinking that if there had been a term limit for our mayor that we would have likely been the worse for it. On the other hand there were some who came before him that we'd have been the better for having a limit and a short one at that.

So terms limits that force out individuals when they have just begun to get the hang of something is a pretty negative thing I think. Especially if it is an elected office because it is possible to defeat someone for those offices at the next election.

But it isn't always easy because individuals and groups do gain some power and develop a kind of inertia just by being in office for a while.

When my caregiving ended it was time for me to do something else.

So I see both sides.

Sometimes when I think of term limits I have this funny mental image of a person with one of those "use before" stamps on their forehead.

But I guess we all have one of those stamps anyway.


~Betsy said...

Interesting post, Flinty. You always seem to make me think! This is a good thing...

Politics have been at the forefront of my thought process a lot lately. I feel there are times when a term shouldn't be limited and times when they should. Experience really does matter in these situations.

Lori1955 said...

I believe in term limits at the federal level. The problem is that most people really don't pay much attention to what their representative is doing and how they are voting so people just keep putting the same person back in office over and over again. It takes something extremely bad to happen before people bother to take notice. That's how we end up with politics as usual by putting some of the same politicians in office over and over again.