By Charles Crickmore

We know our government is dysfunctional. Thus, 74 percent of registered voters say they would like to see most members of Congress defeated. Thirty-eight percent of the voters say they do not want their own representatives to be reelected. Seventy-three percent of voters feel their government is corrupt. Congressional approval ratings are plummeting down, down, down to 9 percent. Could they go lower? Yes, they could.

To overcome all of this negativity, Congress has come up with its solution — Super Committee II. Are you kidding me?

Seriously, let’s try the following:

• Remove the top four congressional leaders.

• Eliminate earmarks.

• Establish term limits.

Removal from office — either voted out of office or forced out by public outrage:

• In the Senate — Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

• In the House — Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

All four of these congressional leaders are career politicians and rigid party liners. They do not negotiate, nor do they compromise. With these four, significant bipartisan deal making isn’t going to happen.

Whenever they speak, I recall my favorite childhood nursery rhyme: “A wise old owl lived in an oak. The more he saw, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard. Why can’t we be like that wise old bird?”

These four are the direct opposite of the owl. They talk too much. They listen too little. They are not wise. They must be replaced by four smart politicians who speak less, listen more and provide bipartisan leadership.

Goodbye, earmarks: In the 2010 House of Representatives, Boehner banned pork-barrel projects in appropriation bills. He later complained, “it has made my job a lot more difficult. I’ve got no grease.” This is a testimony to the power of earmarks.

In the Senate, there is an earmark moratorium. President Barack Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address declared, “I will veto any earmarks in bills.” He also stated he will support legislation to permanently ban earmarks.

Earmarks have been around for decades. They have helped create the career politician. Newly elected politicians are quickly notified to do two things. And, if they do them, they will have the party’s backing for reelection. They are: 1) vote the party line and 2) submit earmarks.

I know earmarks are only one percent of the federal budget. But since they are instrumental in reelecting politicians, they must be eliminated.

Establish term limits: This is the big one. We must push, push and push some more for term limits. Career politicians have ruined our democracy. They are not concerned for our country. Their concerns are for their party and for their reelection.

Term limits would bring major changes in attitudes and outcomes in Washington, D.C. Our government could finally begin to function.

Yes, I know these political hacks are powerful — too powerful. We must unite to fight them. We must threaten to vote them out of office if they do not support term limits. We must become more powerful to save our democracy.

I am 76 years old. I’ve been a Democrat. I’ve been a Republican. I’m now non-affiliated. In my 76 years, I’ve watched the steady decline of our democracy. I, like most Americans, have just sat back and complained about our government. No more.

We must force change. That is why I’ve written this letter. That is why I’ll be contacting my representatives to express my views. And what about you? Voice your concerns now.

— Charles Crickmore lives in Redmond.