In Russia, the term for a president is twelve years (compared to four years in the U.S.), with a limit of two terms, or twenty-four years total. But that may soon be changing … and no, not for the better. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is serving his 20th year as president, has announced his support for a constitutional amendment that would allow him to seek another two terms in the Kremlin. This would mean that Putin could serve as long as 48 years in total and would be 95 years old when he finally stepped down from the throne.The proposal began in parliament, where a member of Russia’s ruling party, Valentina Tereshkova, proposed amending the constitution in a way that would reset Putin’s presidential term count back to zero, meaning Putin could run twice more for the presidency.
“I propose that we either lift the restriction on the number of presidential terms or indicate in an article of this bill that the incumbent president, just like any other citizen, has the right to run for president after the updated constitution takes effect.”
Parliament, of course, needed Putin’s approval to move forward with the proposed amendment, and he was more than happy to comply in a 30-minute speech before Parliament.
Now, I hear you saying, “So what? We’ve got troubles enough here at home, so why should we worry about Russia?” But now, I ask you to think back … how many times has Trump made statements like …
“He’s [Chinese President Xi Jinping] now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”
“The disastrous IG Report on James Comey shows, in the strongest of terms, how unfairly I, and tens of millions of great people who support me, were treated. Our rights and liberties were illegally stripped away by this dishonest fool. We should be given our stolen time back?”
Or this tweet he posted last summer …Sure, we have a Constitution that says he is limited to two terms. So does Russia. Sure, we have a Congress that would have to pass such a measure. So does Russia have a Parliament. Sure, we have safeguards in our system of checks and balances, separation of powers … or do we? The system is only as good as those who enforce it … such as the likes of Attorney General William Barr.
As long as there is a democratic majority in at least one chamber of Congress, as there is at the moment, then no, I do not think it could happen here. But, just ponder for a moment. What if, as was the case for Trump’s first two years in office, there was a republican majority in both the House and the Senate? And what if that majority was large enough to garner a super majority (67%) in both chambers? Then are we so certain it couldn’t happen? I’m not.
Our system works only so long as everyone agrees to abide by the law. As we have seen over the past three years, Trump not only refuses to abide by the law, but openly flaunts it on a day-to-day basis. Not only that, but he has loaded his administration with sycophants who will do his bidding, and is on a mission to purge any who might be given to an attack of conscience.
All of which points up the necessity … nay, the urgency … of the upcoming elections. Vote to ensure that our laws, our Constitution, will hold, that the foundation will not crumble. Vote as if your life depends on it … for just maybe it does.