Notes from around the Human Experience…
HERE WE GO AGAIN: As it does from time to time, term limits is rearing its head again. Not only did we have a conversation about it with a fellow citizen this past week, but former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who last year was the Libertarian Party nominee for vice president of the United States, recently came out in favor of them.
Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: This is a pretty popular issue, coming up fairly regularly during our campaign for the United States Senate in 2014 and last year’s campaign for the United States House of Representatives. People are tired of our lousy government and think term limits are a solution because it limits how long someone can hold a certain office.
Dry Technical Matter: Term limits for assorted offices have a long history in America, dating back to colonial times. Under the Articles of Confederation, delegates to the Continental Congress could serve for “…no more than three years in any term of six years”. Term limits, however, were left out of the Constitution until Congress, scared shitless after FDR was elected to four terms, sent the 22nd Amendment – which limits the president to two terms – to the several states in 1947. It was ratified in 1951. Currently, 36 states have term limits for their governors, while 15 have term limits for their legislatures.
Back On Message: We don’t think term limits are a good idea. One, the changes are only cosmetic. Only the faces will change because Republican districts will still elect Republicans and Democratic districts will still elect Democrats. Two, they are unnecessary:
As American citizens, we have the very best form of term limits ever devised: regular elections.
Every two years every member of the United States House of Representatives and one-third of the United States Senate are elected. Every four years we elect a president. If we aren’t happy with our government we are free to change it every other November.
Fly In The Ointment: The problem is we don’t. We keep re-electing the same people who have given us a partisan, fractured and bickering government in the first place. We can blame incumbents, the media and lobbyists for a lot, but we can’t blame them for that. We can only blame ourselves for continuing to send them back. It’s all our fault.
Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: The best way to get new blood in Congress is to refuse to vote for the same lousy legislators we keep reelecting time and time again. Congressman and Senator have turned into careers because we have allowed it and for no other reason.
The Bottom Line: Nobody fills out our ballots for us. If we do not have the very best people leading us in our government we have no one but ourselves to blame. Term limits are not the answer; concerned, conscientious and demanding citizens who hold our leaders accountable are the answer.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: What is believed to be a ten-foot petrified man is discovered in Cardiff, New York on this date in 1869. What it actually was was the brainchild of one George Hull, who had had the statue carved out of gypsum and swore everybody to secrecy. After altering it so it appeared old and worn, Hull shipped it to the farm of his cousin William Newell, who had it buried on his farm. A year later, the creation was discovered by two men who had been hired to dig a well on that exact spot.
There’s One Born Every Minute: Newell and Hull had no trouble getting people to pay to see it and it was so successful P.T. Barnum tried to purchase it. Turned down, Barnum made a replica and Barnum being Barnum, he then claimed his was the original and Newell’s was a fake. Hull admitted to the fraud in December.
“On The Counts On Which You Have Been Convicted, The Tribunal Has Sentenced You To Death By Hanging…”: Ten Nazis convicted and sentenced to death by International Military Tribunal are executed in Nuremberg, Germany on this date in 1946, hung in gallows built in a gymnasium adjacent to their cells.
The ten were woken at 12:45 am and given a last meal of sausage, cold cuts, potato salad and black bread. Though the condemned were denied the privilege of knowing their execution date, the evening’s festivities were hardly a bulletin because everyone could hear the gallows going up.
FunFact: Two who had been sentenced to die were not hanged. Martin Bormann had been convicted in absentia and Hermann Goring peeved that his request to be shot instead of hanged had been denied, had killed himself by swallowing a cyanide capsule earlier in the evening.
USA! USA!: American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos – the gold and bronze medalists in the 200-meters – each raises a black-gloved fist at their medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics on this date in 1968.
There were other forms of protest, too. Among others, Smith and Carlos each went shoeless, wearing only black socks. Smith wore a black scarf to symbolize black pride while Carlos unzipped his jacket to show solidarity with blue collar workers. Each also wore a human rights patch on their jacket, which was also worn by silver medalist Peter Norman of Australia.
All three paid dearly for their efforts. Smith and Carlos were, among other things, dismissed from the Olympics. Norman was ostracized in Australia. He was left off the 1972 Olympic team, despite having qualifying times, and was not welcomed at the 2000 Sydney Games. Smith and Carlos were pallbearers at his 2006 funeral.
Quotebook: If I win, I am American, not a black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro. We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight. – Tommie Smith
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Gordie Howe broke Maurice Richard’s all-time NHL scoring mark with his 931st point in the die1959-60 season.
Today’s Stumper: Does the 22nd Amendment apply to vice presidents? – Answer next time!