Election years are supposed to be exciting and inspiring times in a democracy.
Ideally, new politicians will bring fresh ideas and thoughtful solutions to the problems plaguing the country.
In practice, though, election years - particularly midpresidential-term years - have become periods of inaction. On the national level, any attempt at bipartisanship to solve a pressing problem like the mess on the country's southern border is seen as caving to the other side by the bases of both parties.
Worse, bold new initiatives run the risk of becoming the grist of campaign attack ads as the messages are twisted and convoluted by the political spinners who specialize in punishing courage.
It is much safer to do nothing.
So, as Congress gets ready to leave for a five-week recess it is safe to say not much more is going to happen in Washington, D.C., this year. Oh, sure, when our leaders get back from their break, they will have to put another patch on the tire to provide funding on a short-term basis to keep the government running. But, even that modest move will probably wait until after the election.
The electorate will spend the next 90 days alternating between platitudes from the candidates ("I'll fight hard for Social Security, Medicare and Apple Pie") and attack ads from the political action committees ("He/She hates Social Security, Medicare and Apple Pie - voted against all of them on 16 different occasions!").
There is a solution to this dilemma. It's called term limits. The way to get fresh ideas in politics is to get fresh people in office. It's done at the local level all across the country.
Three terms in the House of Representatives and two in the United States Senate should be plenty of time for dedicated men and women to serve their country. Plus, with roughly a third of the House and half of the Senate not having to worry about re-election at any given time, perhaps courage will once again raise its glorious head in Congress.
It's time to try something different.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.