Amid the calls for civility and coming together as a nation in the wake of last weekend’s tragic shootings in Tucson, Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado has a suggestion for his colleagues: for one night, in a show of unity, “tear down this aisle.” The Colorado Independent reports:
Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall today echoed the sentiments of President Barack Obama’s emotional memorial speech in Tucson, urging both houses of Congress to cross the aisles and sit together during Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address.
Udall sent a letter to his colleagues in both the U.S. House and Senate asking them to break with the long tradition of partisan division during the speech, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 25. He said the split, with one party applauding and the other remaining silent, has come to symbolize the extreme partisanship of the last several years.
“The president’s State of the Union address sets the agenda for the year – the challenges and opportunities we face,” Udall said in a release. “But what Americans see when they watch it on TV is a Congress that is bitterly divided by party.
“It sets a negative tone that only perpetuates the narrative that Congress cannot – and will not – come together for the good of the country we all love. Beyond custom, there is no rule or reason that on this night we should emphasize divided government, separated by party, instead of being seen united as a country.”
It’s hard to imagine a State of the Union address without well-demarcated cheering sections. What do you think this would look like, and what might the effect of this symbolic gesture be?
And how do you object to the principle, at least, without looking like a jerk?