Letter to The Editor: Term limits and ‘party loyalty’

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Letter to the Editor: The Malibu Times

Dear Editor, 

Malibu City Council has term limits. The presidency has them. Congress does not. There are people who have been serving in Congress WAY too long and have lost touch with what it is like to make ends meet in the “real world.” Congressmen and senators are supposed to be “representatives” who come from the ranks of ordinary citizens where they experience all of the challenges of making a living, being an employee, paying taxes, making payroll, taking professional risks. But, increasingly, they are “lifer” politicians who spent most of their adult lives in politics with little depth-of-life experience amongst ordinary folk. The main risk that congressmen and senators have is getting re-elected. This is every two years for a congressman and every six years for a senator. One of the ways to ensure they get re-elected is to have the support of their party. The way to ensure the support of their party is by “party loyalty.” How often do they support their party’s agenda? This goes for both political parties. Take our congressman, Brad Sherman, for example. Brad Sherman is on his 14th term (28 years at the end of this term) as a congressman. He has been in three different congressional districts because he has gone through two separate re-districting cycles, which happen every 10 years. Congressman Sherman has a 100 percent rating from the “Five Thirty Eight” political tracking organization of supporting his party’s (Biden) administration. 100 percent. That is party loyalty. That kind of loyalty leads to your party’s support for re-election to 14 terms. We need representatives who think for themselves and not simply vote 100 percent in line with their party, no matter which party it is. The way to get there is to have someone who thinks for themselves and is not so desperate for re-election that they will simply vote in lockstep with their party. It is VERY difficult to dislodge an incumbent, but it can be done. This is the only “term limit” imposed on Congress: that which is delivered by the voters. But it takes an engaged citizenry. Congressman Sherman is being challenged this next election by several candidates from his own party and a couple from the Republican Party. One of those candidates is Larry Thompson, a successful entertainment and movie industry executive who was born into very humble roots in a small town in Mississippi and then came out to the very competitive world of Hollywood. That line of work is in a world of problem-solving in dynamic situations where collaboration, cooperation, teamwork, and communication skills are essential to mission accomplishment. That environment provides a great depth of life experience and skill set to getting things done with diverse groups of people. The equivalent of “party loyalty” has zero value in that arena. Larry Thompson has had a very successful career and should be enjoying the fruits of his hard labor. But like many Americans, he is looking around and is very concerned that the current direction of America is a grim one. Rather than relax in the afterglow of his considerable success and hard work, he is rolling up his sleeves to get to work for the country that gave him such great opportunities. Common sense for the country and for the citizens, not party loyalty, is his primary concern. Although unanimously endorsed by the California State Republican Party, Larry promises to bring common sense, not necessarily strict party-line, solutions the challenges facing the country. If you don’t need the job and the support of the party to be re-elected, because you have already had a successful career in the private sector, it gives you the ability to do the right thing. You are negotiating from a position of strength. Look around you at the country and our state. Do you like the direction its going? Do you like our involvement in a proxy-war with Russia? Like the open border? How about the cost of living, interest rates, price of fuel, and the $13 trillion debt? How about the lack of enforcement of our laws or the incredible increase in homelessness? Do you think we are heading into the “Golden Age” of America or a “Dark Age”? Are you concerned for your kids’ future? Think back to the Founding Fathers. Do you think they envisioned “lifer” politicians when they crafted to Constitution — or did they want representatives of the population who had spent their time developing the life skill set that actually creates jobs and makes the country work? Do you think we need common sense from our congressional representative, or do we need more party loyalty? That goes for either party by the way. If you think things are going well for America, you can vote for the “party loyalty” candidate. If not, you might look into what your congressman has been supporting and give a fresh look at those, like Larry Thompson, that would like to replace him and be your representative and bring common sense and not party loyalty to congressional decision-making. Only you can enforce term limits on Congress. After all, our congressmen and senators only represent the people who control this country: You and me. We all have to assume the responsibility of “We The People” and get engaged. Do we want a “Golden Age” or a “Dark Age” for our future? Let’s choose wisely and thoughtfully.

Rick Mullen, Malibu