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Saturday, October 22, 2016

We Already Have Term Limits: They Are Called Elections

A commonplace slogan, but I think it is a true and important one. I have noticed several people online declaring that fear of the rise of figures like Donald Trump explains or even justifies calls for the institution of term limits in our politics. I must point out that Donald Trump himself calls for term limits. This is because reactionary fraud, looting and no end of amateur-hour nonsense is enabled by the de-professionalization of public service and political representation. Trumpian politics are not threatened but thrive when politics is disorganized and does not provide for pathways in which public servants gain practical experience, build trusted coalitions, overcome their limitations, and are rewarded for their dedication. I was quite happy to vote for Hillary Clinton, but I must say voting for a third term of President Barack Obama would have thrilled me more. Term limits, like the endless tax-cut mantras of our politics, reflect the deep-seated anti-governmental resentment of the spoiled, insulated, irresponsible American infant-citizen in an incomparably rich, comparatively isolated and secure continent forever greedy to get something for nothing, to declare our luck the result of our effort and to retro-actively rationalize whatever abuse got us what we have or where we are. Professionalism -- prone, no question, to its own parochialisms, exclusions and abuses -- is nevertheless one of the few countervailing forces in our personal and public lives that resist the race to the bottom and the utter abandonment of this shared world to the deceptive, hyperbolic, appetitive, robotic norms and forms of advertising lies and promotional flim-flam.

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