Some people have this idea that if the end is good then whatever means they choose must be good, too. But no. Principles matter — they exist to help us choose the right means and oppose the wrong ones.
Politicians tend to think unlimited terms in office is a good thing. I disagree, but forget that for a moment. What is the best way to settle the disagreement? Who should decide how long politicians serve?
The people, that’s who.
New York City’s mayor and City Council have opposed the term limits they live under, term limits voted into law by citizens.
So they got together and legislatively overturned the people’s decision, extending their own terms in office.
But not every politician who may like extended terms thinks that this was the way to obtain them. Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum went on record before the council vote that, if the council overturned the term limits rather than sending it back to the voters again, she would not seek re-election.
“I think it’s wrong,” she said. “It would be wrong for me, feeling as strongly as I do, to run for a third term if [term limits are] overturned in a way that I don’t think is right.”
Immediately her political competitors breathed a sigh of relief. But citizens should sigh in appreciation. It is mighty good to see personal principles trump re-election frenzy.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.