Chinese President Xi Jinping is hoping Americans are happy idiots, willing to look past decades of Chinese economic malpractice and a crushing pandemic the Chinese Communist Party unleashed on the world in the name of global congeniality.

To avoid so-called “confrontation,” Xi urged President Joe Biden’s administration Monday to reverse the Trump administration’s economic restrictions on China and forgo its plans to build a Western coalition to push back on Beijing.
In November, more Americans than ever before exercised their right to vote, participating in the civic sacrament of choosing their next President of the United States. Record-breaking turnout is cause for celebration. America is stronger when citizens make their voices heard by voting. The constitutional culmination of the 2020 presidential election is Wednesday, when the House of Representatives and the Senate meet in a joint session of Congress to certify the results of the Electoral College.

The Constitution promises Americans equal protection under the law and the right to elect their representatives. This principle is usually summed up as "one person, one vote," and it stems from a long history of balancing the sovereignty of states as a check against the federal government and vice versa. So, at Wednesday's joint session, in accordance with the 12th Amendment, I will join representatives and senators who object to seating electors from several states.
The last thing the public needed this year was more political brinkmanship. In 2020, governments asked the public to stop working, traveling, gathering, and “just stay home.” The goal was to “stop the spread” or “flatten the curve.” The result is millions of lost jobs, thousands of delayed medical procedures, and diminished educational attainment for America’s students. Now, on top of all this, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is steering Congress toward a disruptive government shutdown.

To be clear, Congress had all year to hammer out an agreement on appropriating money for congressionally funded government operations. In a perfect world, Congress would vote on the various department appropriations one by one before Sept. 30, and then, work would begin on the next year’s spending. This would avoid the now-annual tradition of releasing thousand-page “omnibus” packages just days before the government runs out of money. Methodically negotiating and voting on each appropriation would allow members of Congress to address narrower issues in certain areas where Congress spends our hard-earned taxpayer dollars.
There’s no question that for most Americans, 2020 has tested and tried each of us in ways both obvious and invisible. This year will long be remembered and studied as a most consequential year between the global pandemic and social unrest.

In March, days and weeks felt longer as our days took on a startling similarity while many sheltered in place. But now that the holidays are approaching, it seems time is moving faster, even as we struggle to adjust to the holiday season.
On October 31, 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto changed the world. Someone, or several people, writing under the pseudonym of Satoshi published the Bitcoin Whitepaper. The cryptography was brilliant. It used Markov chains and a distributed ledger to provide what has become the world’s most secure, internet-connected, computing network. But that wasn’t the goal. Bitcoin launched a true rival to gold as a store of value. And Bitcoin launched a true rival to fiat currency whose primary utility has devolved to a means of exchange and unit of account. Finally, Bitcoin did this in a way that was secure, private, and unstoppable.
When the history of 2020 is written, COVID 19 will loom large—as a public health crisis, but especially for its effects on economic and civic life. While different decisions could have been made, the fiscal and monetary policy interventions by Congress and the Federal Reserve, while controversial, have provided some essential stability for individuals, families, businesses and communities in the face of catastrophic state quarantine orders.

As Americans cope with pandemic fatigue and economic uncertainty, much of the economy remains in a state of limbo. More and more Americans feel a disconnect between themselves and the policymakers they elect to represent them. Likewise, the disconnect between marketable securities on Wall Street and Main Street is growing. While capital markets remain strong, across America, many people remain unable to return to work, landlords cannot collect rent from tenants who cannot pay or have been exempted, and many businesses struggle to get loans, leaving people and businesses distraught as their livelihoods crumble.
To watch cable news or read a major daily newspaper these days, a foreigner visiting the United States would have a bleak outlook on the future of America. Unless of course, more people visited western Ohio. Obviously, my work in Congress involves travelling back and forth to fulfill my responsibilities in both Ohio and D.C. But every August, tradition dictates that Members stay home and spend more time with our neighbors and constituents. People love to refer to August as a “recess” from Congress, but this month-long work period is often one of the busiest parts of my year.

As the nation continues to adjust and adapt to life in a pandemic, it is more important than ever that America’s elected leaders understand how the policies imposed from Washington (many over my objections) affect the people who elected us. Perhaps most urgently, people have wanted to share their reactions to state executive orders that effectively closed our economy, deemed some activities essential and others non-essential, and threaten to further disrupt work, school, sports, and much more. In light of that and the related public health crisis, this August is the perfect opportunity to observe the impacts of CARES Act—the trillion-dollar coronavirus relief bill.
Back in March, uncertainty and the fear that millions might die from COVID-19 led states across the country to shutter businesses and ban public gatherings. The response across the country varied significantly, as most governors and their chosen public health tsars systematically shut down businesses, banned public gatherings, and imposed all manner of other restrictions on their respective states.

State legislatures have been remarkably muted. However, the time for unilateral public health mandates has passed. As the Wisconsin Supreme Court rightly recognized, legislatures need to be included in this process, and “the governor cannot rely on emergency powers indefinitely.” We’re almost five months into this pandemic, and still, legislatures across the country, including Congress, have not properly engaged in policy decisions.
It’s been 244 years since the course of human events directed a group of American statesmen to declare their independence, based upon self-evident truths and individuals’ God-given natural rights. The Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776, marked a shift in the political history of humankind. Until that point, nation states came into being through accident of geography and unbridled right of conquest.

The Thirteen Colonies, however made a conscious decision to unite under enlightenment ideals, filtered through the Christian preachers and pulpits of the day. This was a critical difference between the enlightenment in America, which ended in liberty, and the enlightenment in France, which ended in the guillotine. In the process, the Founding Fathers laid the foundations of liberal governments throughout the world. In the American Enlightenment, intellectual speculation for learned scholars became instead a revolution embraced by people of all backgrounds, stations, and faiths. Never had a government acknowledged the natural rights of all individuals.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the nature of racism in America. Maybe you too have read a now-viral Twitter thread about comedian Dave Chappelle’s experience talking about racism in a comedy club in New York. It’s a good thread, and one that invites people into a necessary conversation. But a different part of the story jumped out at me: Mr. Chapelle described his interaction with a police officer, in Ohio, the place he and I call home. The officer who pulled him over recognized him immediately and let him off with a warning. That officer would later go on to shoot a man who was looking at a BB gun in a Walmart—while black. Mr. Chapelle is right. He shouldn’t have to be famous to survive an encounter with the police.

I obviously can’t speak to what it’s like to be black in America. But I want to share my own thoughts and recollections given recent events: