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The Question of Term Limits

Popularity 1Viewed 2784 times 2018-1-1 01:16 |System category:Life| Term, Limits, Constitution, 22nd, Amendment

What defines a nation - its people, or its leadership?  It is a question that many of a country through human history have faced, just as much as today.  If a leader rules with a ‘lifetime fiat’, is that nation merely an extension of the leader’s will?  What happens to that nation once that leader passes away, or actually steps down?  These are the sort of questions that come up when looking at the developments that have happened in Russia with Vladimir Putin. Yet, there are similar issues being talked about when looking at the political scene in the more ‘Democratic’ of areas – with examples of Angela Merkel in Germany or the Bush and Clinton Families in the United States.  Lord knows, more than a few jokes have been used to describe the “family business” that has governed DPRK, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and dozens of other nations for the last half of the 20th and beginning of the 21st Centuries.

 

While more of the prominent pundits will either espouse the praises or curse the actions of such leadership, I have to give pause for the underlying populations that have given ground to allow this to happen to begin with.  More often than naught, there seems to be the attitude that if there is the perception that “the trains run on time,” the people will allow a great and many terrible thing to occur.  It is this perception that has allowed the likes from Caesar to Mussolini to rule without resistance.  Yet has there ever been the case where the ‘bread and circuses’ never ended?  One only has to look at the length and breath of human history to know that answer, whether gazing upon the Pyramids of Ancient Egypt, or the Great Wall of Imperial China.

 

For a nation to not only survive, but to thrive, there needs to be notion that its leadership are not entrenched lifetime positions.  Love or hate him, George Washington set precedence as a founding father of a nation when he stepped down after a couple of terms and trust the nation to his fellow party members.  It was unfortunate that it took more than 100 years to codify that precedence as the 22nd Constitution Amendment, but after what happened with Franklin Roosevelt (death in office during his fourth term as World War II raged), there was no choice.  To some degree, the CCP in P.R. China learned this lesson after the disastrous fight for succession that came after the death of Mao.  Similarly to the U.S., Article 79 was placed in the P.R. Chinese Constitution to deal with the issue.  Whether that article will be enforced in the next few years remains to be seen.

Will history be a reverse mirror of itself?

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (3 comments)

Reply Report Liononthehunt 2018-1-1 18:44
The political scene in the US is more worrisome.
Reply Report tradervic 2018-1-3 01:27
Liononthehunt: The political scene in the US is more worrisome.
Oh?  How do you perceive it to be so?
Reply Report tradervic 2018-1-3 01:28
Voice CD - any particular reason there was a pass on the graphic I created for this article - PM me if you cannot state in public.

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