North Texas Daily

Why we have presidential term limits

Why we have presidential term limits

April 14
00:27 2016

Sidney Johnson | Staff Writer

@sidjohn87

Our founding fathers knew presidential term limits would be an issue. When our nation broke away from Mother England it looked to create a system of checks and balances on the power of those in charge. We gained presidents whose authority was restrained by congress in lieu of kings who reign until they die, step down or are overthrown. Some feel our present presidential term limits should be extended — an assertion I find counterproductive to our nation’s essence.

14_sidney

Sidney Johnson

The 22nd amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1951, states: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term shall be elected to the office of President more than once.”

George Washington, the United States’ first president, died in 1799 only two years after the end of his second term. He could’ve continued into a third term with ease — he’s known as the “father” of our country for a reason — but Washington, a believer of self-restraint and discipline, responsibly stepped down after serving eight years in office. This precedent remained unbroken for 143 years.

It wasn’t until Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose tenure as President of the United States spanned from 1933 to 1945, that the nation’s position on term limits was revisited. Roosevelt roused hope and optimism during one of the most desolate stints in American history, justifying his extended administration, at least in the voters’ eyes. He was truly what the people wanted, and upon examining his trademark New Deal policies, was arguably what they needed in order to survive the Great Depression.

But beyond this, it can be objectively stated term limits ensure no party is in power for too long. Even if a president – such as Washington remains the choice of the majority of citizens after their presidency, it shouldn’t negate the dissent others deserve their chance as well. Roosevelt might’ve been the savior of our country in a time devoid of opportunity, but things not being as dire as they once were, the need for such an extended stay is decidedly absent.

Allowing a party’s rule to continue longer than presently allowed can uproot our political process. If you are enthusiastic at the thought of Bernie Sanders in office for 12 years, yet scoff at the idea of Donald Trump doing the same, I advise you to check your bias. Washington was right and his foresight was almost psychic — keeping terms short and sweet allows for the flourishing of a more perfect union. Vote wisely.

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