Take the Outsider Test

Through the Obama years, Democrats had no problem with his pen and phone approach. If he couldn’t get it his way with GOP support, he was determined to go it alone. And while he was doing this, there was zero opposition from members of his team. But now that Trump is in power and the GOP hold most of the cards in Congress, the Democrats are going nuts over Trump’s pen and phone approach. What gives?  He’s doing the same thing Obama was doing. It’s been real interesting seeing Democrats (and socialists alike) suddenly in favor of state’s rights and limited government.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republicans made Hillary Clinton’s private email server the issue to go after her on. Commercials and talks about how she put American security at risk dwarfed just about everything else bad about Clinton. And the Democrats, in fact Clinton’s biggest rival, Bernie Sanders, declared they were done hearing about her damn emails. But now Trump is in office. And Trump has a lot of smoke related to ties with Russia, both financially and politically. And the GOP has decided it doesn’t care to hear anymore about Trump’s damn ties while the Democrats are now up in arms about security. Again, what gives?

In both cases we have the same problems. In our first discussion, we have authoritarian power. In our second, we have American security. And what we find is that the party of the guilty looks the other way as long as they’re of the same party. Only the opposition complains. So it’s not about authoritarianism or security. It’s about who has the ball.

This starts a dark road into tribalism where facts and decency don’t matter. So before we get there (even if we probably already are), it’s time for everyone to take the Outsider Test.

John W. Loftus, once a practicing ordained minister and student of none other than William C. Craig, is now an atheist, challenging others once like him to examine the Christian faith. In March 2013, his book, “The Outsider Test For Faith” was published. The subtitle is, “How to Know Which Religion is True.” The premise of the book goes back to David Hume as Hume used the same kind of argument against Islam and Catholicism. But it’s Loftus who wraps up the test perfectly.

The test is simple: Critique your religion as if you were not part of it. Then see if it holds up. You should ponder on your beliefs and consider what someone outside your religion thinks of them.

The Outsider Test doesn’t have to be with just religion. I believe both major political parties in the United States need to take the Outsider Test.

What if during the presidential campaign, the roles of Trump were reversed with Clinton. What if it was Clinton who was encouraging more leaks from the GOP and encouraging Russia to hack Trump’s email? What if it was Clinton who fawned over Putin? What if Clinton refused to release her tax returns? What if Clinton’s choice of National Security Advisor quickly resigned over contacts with Russia during the campaign?

I can tell you exactly what would happen. The reverse of what is happening today. It would be the GOP going after her, calling for an investigation and the Democrats would be ignoring it. How do I know? Because the GOP went after Clinton on her emails, calling out FBI Director Comey for claiming she engaged in no wilful crime, for Clinton’s husband meeting on the tarmac with Attorney General, Loretta Lynch shortly before Comey said there was nothing to see here.

Both parties, all parties, all peoples of these parties are descending into tribalism. And might I add, when their own side engages in what they’d hate from the other side, there’s been a lot of special pleading going on. The best approach is to be as consistent as possible.

Ask yourself, would you be okay if the other side was doing such and such? If you answer “yes”, then sit back, relax, you’re being consistent. But if you say “no”, it’s time to take the Outsider Test.

A few years ago, here and here, I called on members of my own political leanings to point out some areas needing improvement. It is more important to put on your own oxygen mask first before you can help others. I think this very simple test does the trick. The question is, are you good enough to accept the results?

Executive Disorder

First things first, read the entire Executive Order. Then come back. I’ll wait.

Done? No you’re not. Read it first please.

* Flips through Cabela’s catalog, looks for fly-fishing classes *

* Gets diverted to the muskets. Always wanted a musket *

Done? You sure? Okay, here we go:

The Executive Order PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES justifies itself three times on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. And yet, the seven countries it puts a ninety-day stop on had nothing to do with that attack.

The seven countries affected by the Executive Order are Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. And yet, the nineteen hijackers on September 11, 2001 came from Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and primarily from Saudi Arabia. So I’m confused here. It’s like 2002 all over again. Members from al-Qaeda strike us from orders out of Afghanistan, we strike Afghanistan but then the Bush Administration goes after Iraq.

The only reason I can think of why the four countries with nationals who were part of the September 11, 2001 attacks were left off the list is because oil and business and more business. If I am correct, then this Executive Order is not about protecting America at all. It’s about…something else.

Before we speculate that, let’s look at the primary reason for the protests and uproar.

Paragraph three under Section 1 reads: In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation. (emphasis added).

This is referring to tenets of Islam some Muslims engage in. Here, the Order is clearly talking about Muslims, not Jains, Mormons, Buddhists, etc. (As my partner here, Alan J. Sanders, at Freedom Cocktail noted while reviewing a draft of this essay, the use of the word “should” does not mean “must” or “shall”. Being a legal document, without any more information, we can’t be entirely sure if the should is a shall). In any case, the listed “acts of bigotry” appear to be applying to Muslims, especially since no other religion practices honor killings. We now proceed on to Sec 5 (b) for clarification that this is, indeed, an executive order primarily lodged against Muslims.

Section 5 (b) reads: Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. (emphasis added) Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.

Islam is the majority in the countries identified. So when they say, religious minorities, they’re talking about Christian and otherwise. But the fact is, it is Muslims who primarily become victims from other Muslims. Finally, this may go against the Establishment Clause. Lawyers can work on this.

The third section that was bringing people to protest at airports was the following:

Section 3 (c) reads: (c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas). (emphasis added).

Immigrants (which include Green Card holders, legal permanent residents) are included in the ninety-day stay. This means legal residents who were out of the country when the Order went into effect couldn’t return to the United States for at least three months and then jump through whatever other hurdles were imposed. Just to get back home legally!

The preference for non-Muslims and docking legal residents (immigrants) are the major problem with this executive order. Besides my reading of the document, Donald Trump said the intent of this was to prioritize Christian refugees. Have a look. He does note that many people of all types have been harmed. But he puts more victimhood on Christians.

Is it a Muslim ban? Remarks by Rudy Giuliani seem to say so. In an interview on January 29, 2017, he noted that Trump approached him to put together a Muslim Ban and to do so legally. Those are Giuliani’s words. Sure, he did later say in the same interview that the ban wasn’t based on religion but “danger”. Okay, fair enough, but now we’re back to asking why Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and especially Saudi Arabia are not included?

Let’s also not forget that Trump ran his campaign on a platform for a year calling for a “complete ban” on Muslim entering the country. Is this just a watered down order?

This Executive Order is, indeed, saying at least, if you’re a Muslim from these particular seven countries, you’ll have to sit at the back of the bus.

But back to the four Muslim countries with nationals involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks not being included. Nor were the many other Muslim majority countries. So what gives?

Maybe the answer is in Trump’s tax returns? Maybe it’s oil? Maybe tourism? Maybe anything? I don’t know. Possible combination?

What about Pakistan? Members of Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, have been known to be al-Qaeda sympathizers. That country has been a wobbly ally since the Soviet Union / Afghanistan war.

Maybe being a United States ally is a reason?

In any case, I can’t take this Executive Order seriously as a means of protection for Americans when zero acts of terrorism have come from the listed seven but not the four that actually spawned September 11, 2001 terrorists. And, since it’s primarily aimed at making it more difficult for Muslims that come from countries that have no strong business ties to Trump and/or the United States, it’s terribly insulting to this American to try to claim otherwise.

I suggest more reading on the subject. Here, the Atlantic declared it was a Muslim Ban. It’s a fine analysis.

  • I was considering commenting on Trump’s claim that Obama did a similar thing in 2011 but have chosen not to. First, we cannot change history. Secondly and most importantly, just because your predecessor does it doesn’t mean it’s right. And finally, if you want, here’s an article that says more than I could about it.

First there was Twitter and then came Spicer

spicer-and-trumpWhen I wrote a few weeks back that I believe then President-elect Trump was intentionally using Twitter to take up all of the oxygen in the 24 hour news cycle, I had no idea others would also jump on that same thought-train. Even after pointing out this strategy, I knew the mainstream media and opponents to President Trump would not take it to heart. They are so programmed to attack and flood social media with the latest controversial hashtag, they cannot help themselves. Like the tweet a Time’s reporter in the White House press pool falsely put out, stating that the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. The fire storm over that #fakenews tweet ran rampant for hours before the truth came to light — the reporter was wrong. The bust had never been moved, but the narrative in the minds of so many in the mainstream media is that Trump is a racist, so it made sense to them he would do something so insensitive. Even though forced to apologize, the damage was already done. That lie lived up to the old saying about making it halfway around the world before the truth got its pants on.

The media and forces opposed to Donald Trump live in a constant heightened state, waiting to pounce on the slightest piece of negativity with which to run. Instead of following even the most basic rules of journalistic ethics, to question sources, vet information and look for corroborating details, they want to be first to hit the airwaves and the internet. And if you don’t think Donald Trump doesn’t know this, you are a bigger fool than you think he is.

So, I have no problem at all pointing out that his strategy of using Twitter to put out tweets designed to tweak the media is only the beginning. Enter White House spokesperson, Sean Spicer. Prior to taking office, Trump only had the power of social media. Now he’s got the bully pulpit as well and he’s not afraid to use it.

In the very first press conference, while the media began foaming at the mouth with the phrase, “alternative facts” and a discussion over numbers watching/attending the inauguration, President Trump went to work, signing an executive order to begin reducing the burden Obamacare has been putting on families. In the two following pressers, Sean Spicer scolded the media for their #fakenews tweet about the MLK bust and then, introduced the idea that millions of illegals may have voted in the election. While the media has been going rabid, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, imposed a federal hiring freeze and reinstated the “Mexico City policy” on defunding international abortion-related services. He also signed orders to fast-track the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Add to these orders the confirmation of some of Trump’s cabinet members, including Marine General James Mattis (who spent his first day authorizing 31 bombings on ISIS positions) and new CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Expected to make it through are just about every other nominee, thanks to rules the Democrats, under the leadership of Harry Reid, put in place during the prior administration.

While we all sit back and roll our eyes or get angry at the posts on social media regarding #illegalvoting, there just isn’t enough air left to cover anything else of substance taking place. This is not the fault of anything other than a complicit media more interested in a sexy “gotcha” sound bite instead of doing their jobs. President Trump is aware of this, and as long as they let him, he will continue to use both Twitter and Spicer to keep the media chasing his laser pointer light like a herd of cats.

 

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse

Donald Trump will abuse the office of the presidency. I am convinced of this. During his campaign, he routinely said he knew more about things others did not. He routinely said he knew more about things than anyone else. He routinely said that only he could fix things. In essence, the Donald Trump campaign was a bumper sticker: Let Go, Let Trump.

He was voted in because a large portion of voters were tired of being called racists, homophobic, bake that cake, etc. He was voted in because a wild card was better than a Crooked Hillary. He was voted on a hope that it would be better than Hillary. It is the GOP version of Nancy Pelosi’s “We gotta pass it to see what’s in it.”

Speaking of Crooked Hillary, he campaigned so hard on this that his campaign wanted an emoji added to it if it was used as a hashtag on Twitter. He said Crooked Hillary over and over and branded the Clinton Family as the worst in politics. In the second presidential debate, Trump promised to organize a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s email “situation”. After Clinton’s rebuttal, Trump threatened that if he were president, she’d be in jail.

I started to think that this wild card was even wilder than his supporters thought when the Sunday after he won the election, when he was interviewed by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes, he softened his stance and actually said he didn’t want to hurt the Clintons because they were “good people”. Huh?

Donald Trump has been caught in numerous lies and exaggerations and doesn’t even bother to respond when called out on them. He’s mastered the art of making a claim that benefits himself knowing that said claims are rarely investigated. Or, if so, corrections that come afterwards are rarely reviewed by the public. Proof positive is how memes move so fast around social media without any fact-checking. Trump understands this and works it.

Do we have any idea what we’re about to get on January 20, 2017? All we know for certain is Donald Trump will abuse the office of the presidency. I know this because of not only what he’s said himself (summarized above) but by the precedent that was set before him.

The office of the president has been abused for decades by both the major parties. And we the people, keep right on voting for them.

In my professional experience with Domestic Violence victims, one thing has always stood out as odd. Despite the physical and mental torment, they stay. They stay with their abuser sometimes until their own deaths at the abuser’s hands. They stay because in most cases, they have no where else to go. They are usually financially dependent on the abuser, they may be transportation dependent, dependent regarding food and shelter, dependent for caring for shared children, dependent, dependent, dependent. What the abuser has over the abused is force. The household or relationship is one of force over a dependent party. And the dependent party feels stuck.

Government operates on a larger but similar scale but is essentially in a domestic violence relationship with its people. There is a group of people in power over the majority of other people and if the other people don’t abide by the rules of the power-people, then other people with guns come to make “corrections”. The people who are ruled may petition the government for a change and, like a domestic violence abuser, the government may send flowers from time to time (small tax break, school grant) but the model of power and control remains in place. What has happened, is the American people have sunk into shrugged shoulders of acceptance thinking that if you can’t beat them, join them. Just make sure your abuser is nicer to you than others.

Government has become the provider of so many services and programs, that American elections have boiled down to which candidate can gimmie my stuff. Which candidate can force other people to gimmie, gimmie, gimmie (I love that Black Flag song, look it up). The American people have become dependent on a government that provides so much, they look the other way when bad things happen to good people as long as their share, any share, remains flowers.

Government is force. That’s it. When someone says government should do something, what they’re really saying is government should force someone to do something. And while it benefits the good of all when using force to stop infringements on your personal property or natural rights, it has been stretched to force people to bake cakes and regulate the size of your toilet.

I’ve noted here (and it’s worth reading/revisiting then returning to this essay) that the president is one person with a cabinet and numerous federal departments and fifty governors and congress and many more people that can keep him in check. Also noted is that the presidency has become much more powerful ever since the Vietnam era, over reaching so aggressively that when Barack Obama decided he was going to go it alone with his agenda, he came right out and said that if Congress wouldn’t act, he had a pen and a phone. He didn’t even try to hide the power he wielded.

This leads me back to Donald Trump and the big question that always bugged me about his desire to run for office. Why would Trump, a billionaire with worldwide properties and a glamorous Hollywood existence want a stressful, $400,000 a year job that’s run out of a two-hundred-year old house? Based on Trump’s blatant narcissism, the answer appears clear: It’s the power. It’s the ability now to force his will. Instead of having to make deals and compromises in the business world, he can use the force and power of the federal government to do what he wants. It’s not about making America great again. It’s about making the Donald more Donaldly.

Will Congress keep any outlandish executive orders in check? Will they be able to or willing to stop anything as ludicrous as, say, a wall between the United States and Mexico? I don’t know. But an interesting first test may have played itself out on the very first day the 115th Congress took office.

On January 3, 2017, the first thing the new Congress did was gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, essentially allowing Congress to now investigate itself as opposed to an independent third party. Conflict of interest much? But then later in the day, Congress reversed itself and decided not to do this. Why? Well, people called their representatives and complained. But Donald Trump also wielded his Twitter account, tweeting, “With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog…”.

Did Congress reverse itself because of calls from the people? Or did this now majority Republican Congress do it to show a unity with its incoming Republican President? I don’t know. But what I do know is that parties usually stress unity. And after Trump won, it was quite a site to see the GOP on its struggle bus getting to accept it.

Liberals that enjoyed the eight years President Obama had forcing his agenda now have to come to grips with a new president with the same power that seems to oppose everything they worked for. The same government that forced people to get into a health care program or suffer a penalty will now be used at Trump’s pleasure. He, too, will have the pen and the phone. Watching liberals on social media and talk shows speak of resistance and limiting Trump has been sweet yet bitter desserts. It’s sweet because they’re doing the “I Told You So” without me having to and yet bitter because I’m not sure they’ve learned the lesson. So let me spell it out:

The solution to stopping future Trumps, is to stop government from being too powerful. Those with desires for power seek out positions of power. The solution is not to be working towards the next election to get your people in that will use the power to give you your programs back. The solution is to be looking for candidates that want to remove government powers. Anyone who talks like Trump, doesn’t qualify.

The solution is to keep your important things out of government hands. The solution is to not becoming dependent on government for solutions. The lesson that should be taken away is that if you give government your things, you only get what you want for a brief period of time and your wants are easily taken away with the next administration.

The solution is putting all of our important affairs in a free market.

Break the cycle. Stop being dependent. Stop being a victim. Get the federal government out of everything not authorized in the Constitution and we all win.

We have lots of articles here at the Freedom Cocktail blog showing how this can be achieved in many areas of life. But if you wish to ignore it all and start fresh, feel free to continue the conversation in the comments section at the top of this essay right up there. ⇑

Term limits; or, How to win my vote and prevent the do-nothing climate that led to Trump

I am not a Trump enthusiast.

I am not anti-Trump either.

I am trying to look at this from a pragmatic perspective and determine how we got to this point in our current political process. Trump is the symptom of a larger ailment plaguing both parties, but, more specifically, the Republican party. We cannot fault Trump for garnering the support he has. It is, after all, still a free country. The electorate is allowed to vote for whomever they choose. They are so fed up with the current state of the country and our government, they are desperate for an outsider — someone who is going to make them feel like he is not just another say-anything-do-nothing politician. But, would someone like a Donald J. Trump have risen to such heights had he run for office just a decade or two ago? What’s happened in the last 10-20 years to create the atmosphere where someone like Trump can capture the imagination and support of so many?

Let’s start with empty promises and the impression of a “do nothing” Congress. In my lifetime, I remember the Reagan revolution. The political tides turned in the space of one election cycle, following the abysmal term of Jimmy Carter. Conservatism was given a try and it was so successful, by 1984 Reagan was able to win 49 of the 50 states when he ran for reelection. Reagan had found a way to broaden the Republican base to unprecedented levels. He won over conservative Democrats, moderates and independents as well as fellow Republicans. The American people began to believe in themselves again and attributed that new-found sense of American exceptionalism to the economic turnaround taking place under Reagan’s leadership. We lived up to the ideal of what it meant to be a world power, eventually kicking the Soviet Union in their money belt and bringing that wall of communism down. Americans were feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Fast-forward to the Bill Clinton era. A master of triangulation, he knew his success in office was directly related to his popularity with the American people. Rather than take a hard-line stance (at least behind closed doors), he would use polling to find an acceptable middle-ground with just about every issue. Even if he touted a rigid policy in public speeches, he was astute enough to know he had to maximize his likability at every turn, which meant showing Americans he was accomplishing something. When the Republicans gained control of Congress in 1994, they said they were going to pass welfare reform. Clinton was adamantly against it, until he found the majority of Americans were in favor of it. So, he signed the bill into law and when it turned out to be effective, lowering unemployment and fueling more economic growth, he changed his tune and went so far as to begin taking credit for its passing. When that same Congress passed the first balanced budget in decades, he was also quick to sign it. The American people were seeing politicians making promises and then finding a way to make many of them come to fruition. Obviously, not every campaign promise was kept. But, there were enough successes to placate the electorate.

So, how did we get from there in 2000, to the “do nothing” Congress so many Americans see today? How did we get to a point that we now see terms like Republicrats or Democans used to illustrate there no longer seems to be any differences between the parties?

I believe the rise of the internet as an everyday communication tool is at the heart of it. The advent of the 24 hour news cycle was dwarfed by the sudden ability of so many to instantaneously publish information to the masses. Websites, e-publishing, blogs, video blogs, social media all grew out of the mainstreaming of the internet in the late 90s to where we are today. Cell phones led to smart phones, leveraging the internet in a massive way. Everyone can now be a roving reporter, complete with camera, microphone and the ability to push content out to just about anywhere in the world.

Politicians and their records are now under the biggest electron microscope in the history of mankind. With each passing year, their electronic records grow and we are at a point where many of our politicians today have never known a time where their speeches and writings were not immediately digitized and shared on the net. Want to know if a politician has changed his or her tune on an issue? Just do a a simple keyword search and you will find any moment in time where they have contradicted themselves. The more their records became accessible, the easier it was to see inconsistencies, leading to higher levels of mistrust in our elected leaders.

Let’s face it, the internet is like any other tool. It can be used for good or for evil. It’s not the fault of the net, but of the user. The amount of misinformation and propaganda that exists on social media is almost mind-numbing. We are inundated non-stop with internet meme’s decrying one thing or another. Facts get muddled. Logic is obscured. Reason becomes a distant after-thought.

We are now more aware than ever when our politicians lie, contradict themselves or fail to follow-through on their promises. Combined with the relentless onslaught of messaging via social media, Americans are growing both numb and disenfranchised with the body politic. No one believes our elected leaders will keep their word. They’ve shown us over and over (and then documented and shared over and over and over and over…) that the vast majority of them will say whatever they need to get reelected and then it’s back to business-as-usual. And, when a politician does stand-up, they are crushed under the weight of the establishment within their party — a non-stop attack of “go along to get along” or else!

The GOP, as my friend and co-founder of Freedom Cocktail recently demonstrated, is fractured to the point where it is unrecognizable. The Democrats are speeding head-long toward socialism and the leadership within the GOP seems comfortable with the position of heading the same way, just more slowly. Why? Because who can beat Santa Claus? Both parties have learned that the promise of goodies makes for a mind-numbed and happy batch of lemmings and those lemmings are guaranteed to keep voting for them to remain in office.

Want to win my vote? Want to fix the culture that has led to someone like Donald Trump from surging to the top? It’s time to embrace TERM LIMITS in Congress!

We limit the power of the Presidency to no more than two terms (8 years) in office, yet, senators and representatives can spend generations in the halls of Congress. Many of them have spent their entire careers as politicians, lasting more than 40 years in office. And, as demonstrated, they will say/do anything to retain the power of their office. They are not interested in making tough or unpopular decisions. They refuse to deal with issues like the debt, our country’s massive unfunded liability, the insolvency of social security, the sky-rocketing cost of health insurance and health care (thanks to Obamacare) and our punitive tax-code, just to name a few. Why? Because fixing any of these means making tough decisions. It means taking the candy away from the kids who have been keeping them in office. It means taking off the Santa suit, rolling up their sleeves and actually solving these problems.

By taking away their perpetual stay-in-office-for-life card, we can be assured of at least one of two outcomes: either politicians will return to the will of our Founding Fathers and spend a short time in service of the American people, before returning to the private sector; or, they will ignore their oath of office, but their damage will be limited before returning to the private sector.

Think about it. If any of our current batch of politicians knew they would have to return to the private sector after only a short time in office, and live under the conditions they have created through their term as a legislator, wouldn’t they be more apt to work toward the betterment of the nation rather than themselves? Knowing they can no longer make a living by carving out a different set of rules for themselves, they would have no choice but to try to  find a way to implement rules meant to better everyone.

I know. I hear some of you saying, “We have term limits. We vote on our representatives in the House every two years and in the Senate every six.” Sure. Ok. That’s true. Now, ask yourself, how long have your elected representatives been in office? Does it feel like they have a term limit?

Some politicians do find a way to do more good than bad, and in those cases one may argue against term limits. I used to think that way. But, in our current climate, those examples have become the rare exception and not the rule and I have changed my view. The corruptible nature of government eventually taints any involved and the longer someone remains, the greater the risk of turning even the most principled individual over to the dark side. There is too much power and authority for any human being, with all of our flaws and failings, to withstand it’s negative effects for long.

You want to win my vote? Tell me you will make term limits a priority. Tell me then show me you will fight to make it happen. Tell the American people, like I’ve noted above, why it’s needed. Gain our trust and make it happen. No more than two terms for the Senate (12 years) and no more than six terms for the House (12 years). Once you have removed the atmosphere allowing for lifetime positions in governance, I believe you will see an overwhelming change in the culture within the halls of Congress. Take away the temptation for politicians to “do nothing” for fear of not being reelected. Take away the need to buy votes by dolling out the country’s largess, while ignoring the real work that needs to be done.

Donald Trump is appealing to a wide range of Americans right now, not because he is a celebrity, but because he is not a politician. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if he is inconsistent. It doesn’t matter if his positions have been all over the place. It doesn’t matter that he can say one thing one day and the opposite another. He’s not viewed as a politician. His supporters are desperate for someone different, someone who will make them feel like he cannot be bought. He is winning because Americans love a winner and he makes them feel like they will win, if he wins. He is winning because he is different.

Want someone else to win? It’s going to take a massive cultural change in Washington, D.C., achieved only after the seductive nature of staying in power in perpetuity is removed. It’s the only way for Congress to start regaining the respect of the American people. Until then, we might as well plan on more and more outsiders, including celebrities, throwing in their hats in future races. There is a natural yearning in all of us to follow others in whom we believe and right now there is very little belief in anything the career politician says.

Is there any stronger statement that can be made to show just how far our “do nothing” elected leaders have fallen?