Has the charade of the State of the Union, a pep rally for half of Congress and a protest for the other half, always seemed off to you? Like the spectacle alone suggested that the "state of the union" was continually divided? It has to us.
Members of Congress, for decades, have sat according to their political party. But this year Members are crossing the aisle in a symbolic gesture towards a more civil way of governing.
Sign the petition to urge your Representative and Senators to bridge the partisan divide by sitting together, Democrats side-by-side Republicans, at the State of the Union address. As Senator Udall wrote, "It is important to show the nation that the most powerful deliberative bodies in the world can debate our differences with respect, honor and civility. We believe that it is not only possible, but that it is something that nearly all members of Congress truly desire. To that end, we suggest setting a small, but important, new tradition in American politics."
As Senator Mark Udall outlined in his Letter to Congressional Leadership Regarding Bipartisan Seating at the State of the Union Address: “Partisan seating arrangements at State of the Union addresses serve to symbolize division instead of the common challenges we face in securing a strong future for the United States ... The choreographed standing and clapping of one side of the room - while the other side sits - is unbecoming of a serious institution. And the message that it sends is that even on a night when the President is addressing the entire nation, we in Congress cannot sit as one, but must be divided as two... On the night of the State of the Union Address, we are asking others to join us - House and Senate members from both parties - to cross the aisle and sit together. We hope that as the nation watches, Democrats and Republicans will reflect the interspersed character of America itself. ”
Most Americans don’t care about your party affiliation. But we do expect that you will share our sense of responsibility to get things done, for you to join with us in setting a respectful tone as we make critical decisions. Please consider publicly co-signing Senator Udall’s letter, and joining leadership from both political parties in crossing the aisle at the State of the Union Address.