Underneath the dome of our nation’s Capitol hang eight large paintings representing scenes from America’s beginnings. One painting depicts George Washington resigning his commission before the Continental Congress. The painting occupies a pride of place in our Capitol because it shows an extraordinarily profound and historic shift in the understanding of power.
Going through my mail this week, I read a publication from the Great Plains Trail Network, a dedicated group of people who enjoy, promote, and foster the growing network of hiking and biking trails in Lincoln. They provide an extraordinary service to our community.
On the wall outside my office hangs a framed copy of one of the first pieces of legislation I worked on. The bill increased the number of Iraqi translators who could come to the United States. Serving alongside our troops, these translators had put themselves and their families at grave risk in service to our country.
Our soldiers know this feeling all too well. Perhaps you have experienced it too. You are in a far off place with no one familiar around you, and then you see it and experience an instant feeling of connection—an American flag. At that moment, the flag is more than a piece of cloth with colored stars and stripes.
When presidents give their inaugural addresses, we are accustomed to lofty narratives, to visionary ideals, to sweeping language. President Trump spoke differently. The only sweeping thing in his speech was his reference to the wind-swept plains of Nebraska. Of course I perked up in my seat.
I received a note from Scott, a farmer from Nebraska. It is a straightforward letter, Nebraska like. I’ll just show you basically what he wrote:
My health care is $23,000 a year with a $20,000 deductable.
I have $46,000 in property taxes (on a relatively small farm.)
I’m paying $24,000 in state and federal taxes.
On January 3, I took the Oath of Office as a member of the United States House of Representatives. This is my constitutional duty.
The Electoral College is not a place to study politics. There are no grades, no classes, and no professors. It is not a mystical place of academic tradition. While we tend to think of the presidential election as a matter of vote totals, by our law it is the men and women of the Electoral College who place the final mark and create the final tally.
An interesting thing happened in the wake of the recent election. A member of the elite press corps admitted to being a member of the elite. It's a stunning and refreshingly honest admission. The national media misread the election. Some are now beginning to recognize that they have been detached from the deep anxiety and vulnerability that many Americans feel.
In a recent meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, he concluded his remarks to us by saying, “Buckle up.” Beginning in January, we will have a new President and Congress. The next hundred days will be intense. The next hundred days will create possibilities.