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Entries in state of the union (2)


Mix It Up on January 25

Senator Mark Udall (Colorado) has circulated a letter to his colleagues in Congress asking Members to put aside their party labels during the State of the Union and sit amongst each other instead of on opposite sides of the hall.

When I watched the State of the Union in January 2010, I couldn't listen to Obama's words. All I could focus on was how petty and infuriating and mean and juvenile it looked for one party to sit while the other stood. And the other sat while the other stood. And the only bright moments were when, once in a while, a few Republicans would applaud, in spite of themselves. Or vice versa.

I was seething by the end of the address. How much it must have hurt Obama's heart to see that continue.

I think that Udall knows what a difference it would make to the country to see their representatives sitting together. To find it harder to pick out the things that separate us.

What a gesture ... what a "I can be better" ... what an uplifting ... moment that would be.

Udall's letter has to get signatures on both sides of Congress to have "any traction," as we say inside the Beltway. With Boehner's lame "they can sit wherever they want to sit," I don't know if it will happen. Even if it doesn't, the idea and the goal have been planted.

If you read this in time, please write to your federal elected officials and ask them to sign on to Senator Udall's letter that urges bipartisan seating during the State of the Union on January 25. Through one of my former clients, the Afterschool Alliance, you can easily find your officials and send them emails. Go to their Web site, enter your zip code in the "Contact Congress" box at the middle right of the page and your three (2 senators, one House member) will come up. Click on "Email" and then select "Compose Your Own Letter." Write the letter and provide the info the form asks for. Submit and then repeat for your other two elected officials. At the end of your letter, it's always good to thank the Member for their service.

If seeing that disheartening sight every year has started to get you down, too, please write.

This would be a welcome change that we could all celebrate.

And thank you, Senator Udall, for your service.

(Here's a link to his blog entry on the letter, which gives the entire text and an up-to-date list of Members who have so far signed on. It will really come down to leadership, so if you are a constituent of Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, Minority Leaders McConnell and Pelosi, please write to them in particular. Even if you're not a constituent, go ahead and see if you can contact them.)



Riot Act

Got read one last night. Politicians did. And deservedly so.

I have this sinking feeling that if we were all ever really able to pay real attention to what politicians at the federal level have done to damage and disrupt our lives, I'd be searching for an exit door pretty quick.

At least the Republicans didn't sit on their bums during last night's State of the Union. To not show any sign of unity or agreement is just what divides us even further. Get out of your chairs! Act like adults who give a damn! I would have given *anything* to see one Republican stand up and applaud when no one else in his/her party was doing so.

What turns the tide is unity. What turns the tide is people reaching out and shaking hands -- making connections however they can. Become the better man. Become the better woman. 

What lifts spirits and energizes hearts is acting from a place that you weren't before -- the next level, the one where the "I" becomes "i" and the "Me" becomes "We." When courage pushes you from behind and pulls you ahead.

That, and Barack's smile.