Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BQOTD: Mixed Seating

As you probably are aware, last night, president Barak Obama gave his second State of the Union address. Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch it live, as I was dealing with a hysterical screaming toddler.

To be honest, I feel conflicted about the State of the Union, and have for some years. On one hand, I've always felt that it's important to watch, regardless of who the president was at the time. Whether or not I voted for that particular president, he WAS the one that was inevitably voted into office, and I feel that he at least deserves to be listened to before he is critiqued.

Last night though, it wasn't so much what President Obama said that caught my attention, it was the mixed seating. Traditionally, the Republican party sits on one half of the room, and the Democratic party on the other. Each party stands and applauds parts of the speech that their party agrees with, and sometimes boos or jeers parts of the speech that they don't agree with. Every once in awhile, you'll find a Democrat applauding for a "Republican" ideal or visa versa, but for the post part, the party lines are quite literally drawn.

I've always hated this part of the State of the Union--the "us vs. them" mentality. Because the truth is,  sometimes Democrats have good ideas. Sometimes Republicans have good ideas. The fact that the idea came from someone other than our own political party shouldn't automatically discount the value of the idea, but it often does. Our government seems to go against everything we teach our children in regards to interpersonal communication and relationships--with both sides throwing tantrums and essentially taking their toys and going home if they don't get their way.

Last night, at the State of the Union, a small portion of attendees bucked the 100 year trend, and went with mixed seating. Some Republicans and Democrats sat next to each other, rather than across the aisle. In fact, Coburn and Schumer (who heatedly battled over the 9/11 first responders bill) sat next to each other. 

Personally, I thought it was great. I *hope* that it was more than symbolism--I *hope* it was a sign that we, as a nation, will knock of the hate-speech that both parties direct towards each other and begin to get things done. But I was interested to read that 65% of Americans polled reported that they thought the mixed seating was a bad idea.

What do you think? Were you happy to see the mixed seating? Irritated? Did you not care either way? 


  1. I love it. We must stand together not divided, no matter who is in office.

    Nothing will ever be resolved if we don't all get along.

    Great post, by the way!

  2. Do I like the idea of it? Yes.

    Do I buy it? Heck no!

  3. I loved it too! I think it was a show of unity by both parties. And I hope it's a huge step towards true bipartisanship.

    I found the speech to be very sober and full of great proposals. I look forward to Congress setting them into action.

    People forget that changes take years to come into fruition and nothing happens overnight. I'd really like to see this country focus more on the long term benefits of the proposals rather than what they may do for you tomorrow.

    That is how this country will grow and prosper.

  4. I have to admit, I think it was a great move on the President's part. Usually, in a SOTU, half the room stands up every two seconds and the other sits there. This way, it appeared as if pretty much everyone stood, since they weren't sitting as parties. You saw a whole room stand constantly as the camera pans, because you can't see the onesi n the middle sitting! Very smart!

    Overall, I love the idea of bipartisianship, but it's a very easy thing to say, and not so easy to actually do. I don't really buy it, but it was a very strategic move!! :)

  5. I agree with you, it was a good move. I hope it means something.

  6. I guess it's good, but it's nothing more than symbolism. Notice that it was still Democrats standing and clapping for talking points, except for points that the Republicans would've clapped for no matter how people were sitting (like, it's a bad idea to shoot congresspeople).

    I've also come to the conclusion that we as a society don't really educate people for the real world. We don't teach people how to deal with failure, for example--the popular American conception is that if you just try hard enough, success is inevitable, and this is simply not always the case. Dealing with failure--in the form of a lack of complete success--gracefully is a key part of compromise.

    That, and this is one of the most anti-intellectual countries in the world, and rationally arguing your points rather than throwing a tantrum is some gay intellectual shit.

  7. As long as American voters keep rewarding tantrums, we'll keep getting tantrums in Congress.

  8. I love it, but I don't know if it's something I believe or just take at face value. I also don't really consider myself to be either a Republican OR Democrat and I honestly think it's ridiculous to continue to try to run a nation based on a two party system. We are so behind in the sense of politics, but like one of the previous commenter stated... it takes years for changes to take effect.

    Great post! :)


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