This post started out with a slightly different tone when I first sat down to write it, but even after walking away from it for a few hours, it still doesn’t veer too far from the path I originally set it on. However, I was completely unaware of the headlines that would surface by the time I sat back down to finally write what had been swimming in my head off and on for the past few days.
Little did I know that today would be the day that the infamous and long-awaited past years’ tax returns would be released. Nor that I'd learn that I've likely been paying more in taxes since in my late teens than our current leadership.
One thing that has been stuck in my head since I was walked through it last year by Amanda Nguyen, the founder of Rise, were the number of bills and measures that each of the at-the-time assumed 2020 Presidential candidates had each either authored or sponsored and ultimately passed into law.
Rise is an organization dedicated to educating and supporting everyday people in the areas of lobbying, authoring of bills, and passing of laws. For certain movements they also provide the services of an accelerator of sorts. Amanda founded Rise after battling what she deemed a broken rape survivor justice system when she became a victim of rape, making it the umbrella org for her work on the Sexual Assault “Survivor’s Bill of Rights Act of 2016”, a bill that she authored, lobbied, and implemented. This bill was historical in the fact that it passed unanimously through both chambers of Congress before being signed into law by President Obama. Since that time, Amanda went on to serve as Deputy White House Liaison for U.S. Department of State and to further develop Rise into the community-development organization that it is. In these past four years, they have been successful in helping citizens pass over 30 laws into existence.
While 30 may not seem like a lot, that number takes me back to my original conversation with Amanda where we discussed the number of laws each of the back-then Presidential hopefuls had actually passed into law themselves, not as co-sponsors of a bill (bills typically have multiple sponsors before they become law). The numbers were disappointing to say the least. For some it was a matter of government experience and tenure, since 2020 saw many newcomers to the race, of course they would have much less of a legislative track record.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden led the pack with the number of solely sponsored bills passed into law at 23. The next closest was Senator Amy Kobluchar with almost half at 12 (it actually may be 13 by now). The rest including Warren, Sanders, Harris, and O’Rourke (some of our favorite original candidates) had low single digits if any. If we factor in co-sponsored bills then the number climbs for all, but Biden still leads by far. To give additional credit, while not all members of congress have been able to pass bills into law some have been more successful at passing amendments to bills. I believe it is Sanders who leads in this area with 92 amendments passed. (More info on this here and here.)
What really did stick with me from this conversation was that Rise is only one organization focused on empowering lobbying and bill authoring by “ordinary citizens” and the fact that in four short years they’ve been able to help pass 39% more laws into effect than those who have spent 30+ years as career members of Congress.
I’m not even mentioning 45 in this, because he clearly has only had any success with Congress under his own power.
However, I have to give credit where credit is due to Biden. In 2020, we’ve all had a front-row seat into the cutting off of their nose to spite their face, playground variety of tug-of-war between the Senate and the House of Representatives. We are in November and a full COVID-19 economic relief update has yet to be agreed upon. So, any American who has paid even the slightest attention to current events knows that any bill attempting to be passed faces numerous challenges and someone who can work with both sides of the party lines and all of the varying demographics and agendas that currently make-up our government deserves some acknowledgment and is part of the solution that we need at this time in this country.
The two current Presidential candidates are both displaying very different public personas at the moment, which is not an act. As most of those I know attempt to rally for Biden for the sake of our country, the strongest campaign I saw in recent months was a “Settle for Biden” social campaign, which I’ll admit does a great job of injecting humor into these “uncertain” (after 2020, I’d like to retire the word “uncertain”) times.
Unfortunately, that is the perception of Biden. He seemed to be the top pick of very few (I’ll admit, in a perfect world he wasn’t mine), but he is actually the one that at this time can probably have the best results with this current Congress. It is undeniable that he is well-qualified. He presents a more passive character, while the other candidate demanding re-election, is all smoke and mirrors, presents as more dominant. Biden is not the lesser of two evils. At this time he is the more qualified candidate.
Moving forward, in this last month before our time to vote is up, as Americans the one attitude that we should all adopt collectively is that of employer conducting a job interview, and one in which we’re looking for the most capable and responsible candidate that will generate the ROI we want to see. We also need the candidate that can further help us attract the best talent to fill other roles and that is also able to help us retain them. I honestly at this time can’t even recall some of the people listed on this current presidency turnover list.
Other suggested basic criteria could include perhaps someone who isn’t going to bankrupt us? Someone who doesn’t openly insult their employers? There’s at least 100 other examples of things that could be added to the vetting process, if we each take on the responsibility to look out for even a handful of those then maybe we might elect the right candidate into office.
Consider Tuesday’s debate round one within the interview process.