I am sure many people run for elected office for the right reasons, to advance the common good for the benefit of the citizens they serve.
However, it is clear that most, once they acquire power, forget their original motivations.
They serve to maintain their power, blinded by party affiliation and promising almost everything possible to theirsupporters.
They accept large contributions from lobbyists to secure reelection, with the obvious obligation to promote the lobbyistsâ€™ agenda. And they accept every benefit that comes their way. â€œServingâ€ in Congress seems to lead directly to an increase in personal wealth.
One of the most glaring examples is the way members of Congress are allowed to use nonpublic information, gained because of their position, to profit on stock-market trading.
The CBS show 60 Minutes recently brought this despicable practice to light, reporting that congressional traders have been earning 6 to 10 percent more on their stock transactions than the average American, legally using the same practices that sent Martha Stewart to prison.
Legislation to close this loophole, the STOCK Act (â€œStop Trading on Congressional Knowledgeâ€), has been languishing without support in Congress since 2006.
I suggest a fundamental solution: term limits. If you cannot promote your ideas into legislation within, say, four years, then most likely your ideas are not worthy.
Regardless, removing the temptation to sell oneself to stay in power is probably the only way to rein in the rampant corruption.
We need to let our representatives know that they are elected, not anointed.
H. Edward Knox, a resident of eastern Lincoln County, is a practicing attorney and the former mayor of Charlotte.