Liberty may only be obtained when the power of the state is limited. This is a basic premise of our American ideal. It is what made the Constitution so important at its conception, and possibly even more so today. The purpose of the Constitution was to limit the power of government and guarantee liberty by it.

Our electoral process has gone amok because this guarantee is under attack in many venues. A reform of this process is a necessity in our time, albeit not the only one. One of the most important of these is term limits. I was quite excited to see one of my favorite champions of liberty, Culpeper resident and Delegate Nick Freitas, take this up.

Public opinion is demonstrated in poll after poll that the founding fathers’ idea that congressional office is not a career, and that lawmakers should live under the laws they enact remains popular. It is also widely believed that Congress should be made up of the people they represent. With career politicians this is just not so.

The power of incumbency and all the perks that incumbents give themselves are giving us a ruling class of politicians and a direct attack on liberty. If we want a ruling class, why not just go back to the king and his lords and stop fooling ourselves? Contrarily, if we do not believe that is a good idea, why not go back to original idea of a republic, governed by the citizenry?

Frankly, we cannot do that without term limits. Personally, I recommend four terms in the House and two in the Senate. After this, it is time for some fresh ideas. Having term limits also weeds out those who run with the intent to make it a career, narrowing the field to those who want to serve.

So how do we do this? We should start by asking those we elect to term-limit themselves. Sen. Ted Cruz has begun to take this up as a constitutional amendment and our local delegate has pledged to support an Article V convention to accomplish this.

Another route is to urge state legislatures to take up the battle. We need to push for state-imposed term limits on members of Congress and help Del. Freitas on this quest. We need to make this a statewide initiative that can catch on in other states.

Term limits are no panacea, and there are many other issues facing us, but election reform and returning the government to the citizens is the first step in regaining our liberty. It is only by the citizens having the power to hold our elected officials accountable that we may work to resolve the other issues. As it is now, the ruling class decides what the issues are, and if/how they are to be resolved. History bears witness that these decisions are not always designed with our benefit in mind.

Again I applaud Del. Freitas for taking up this monumental issue along with his other efforts, such as Ranked Choice Voting, to reform our broken system. I wouldn’t mind seeing our electoral cotes apportioned by congressional district or closed primaries, but these are matters for another day. Virginia is the birthplace of the republic, let us here give birth to its reform. Let Del. Freitas know we will follow if he will lead on this important issue.

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TIMOTHY P. COTTON, a Culpeper County resident, is national director of operations for the Alliance Party.