Act of Courage #2: Go Undercover
Members of Congress are entrusted with decisions that impact greatly on everyday American life, but how well do they understand the daily lives of most Americans? When one out of every two members of Congress is a millionaire, they can't help but be removed from the experiences of average Americans.
This is not an indictment of our elected leaders for their wealth. It is simply accepting the fact that most politicians - no matter how smart, principled, or patriotic they may be - face an uphill battle to govern effectively when their wealth puts them so out of touch with the lives of ordinary Americans.
Congressional hearings only go so far in helping Congress understand an issue, and often are simply political displays. And even when members of Congress do get out to learn about an issue, they typically do so in a highly publicized and politicized manner that falls short of developing true understanding.
So let us call upon the members of Congress to undertake "undercover missions" to learn about the issues they are voting on. Only in this way can members of Congress truly understand the ways that their actions—or failures to act—directly affect Americans’ lives. If we are to have government of the people, by the people, and for the people, then our leaders need to learn how the American people live.
Lawmakers Find $21 a Week Doesn't Buy a Lot of Groceries (Washington Post, 2007)