Chapter 3 - First, Walk a Mile   

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? One out of every two members of Congress is a millionaire, in stark contrast to the one out of one hundred Americans in that elite class.

This is not an indictment of our elected leaders for their wealth, nor a charge that such riches inherently prevent an understanding of the day-to-day struggles of average Americans—indeed, some of America’s most revered leaders have been among our wealthiest citizens. But most politicians, no matter how smart, principled, or patriotic they may be, face an uphill battle to govern effectively and wisely when their wealth puts them so out of touch with the lives of ordinary Americans.

So let us call upon the members of Congress to climb down from their ivory towers and “go undercover” to learn the facts of life of today’s America. Not in the style of old-school fact-finding missions, done as grand public affairs, with reporters and local officials in tow. Instead, these should be missions to live and breathe the lives of ordinary Americans, done as quietly and incognito as possible. This could mean taking up residence in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Washington, D.C; seeking health care at a local emergency room; spending a weekend in a federal prison; or working in a variety of low-wage or middle-class jobs.

Only in this manner 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.

The disparity in wealth between those in the top tier of the American population and those below...[Purchase the book here to keep reading]