Lawmakers To Convey Bipartisanship By Sitting With Political Opponents


Lawmakers to convey bipartisanship by sitting with political opponentsIn the days leading up to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, dozens of lawmakers pledged to cross the aisle and sit with members of their rival political party during Tuesday's speech.

In a gesture that aimed to show civility and camaraderie following the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., which left Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) fighting for her life, Democratic and Republican legislators are pairing up to sit next to each other for the President's speech. During his Jan. 23 appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) confirmed that he would sit next to Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

"It's true it's symbolic, but let's not forget [that] oftentimes in history, symbols influence reality," Schumer told the media outlet.

However, not all leaders in Congress were planning to take part in mixed seating. On FOX News Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that he was planning to sit on the Republican side of the aisle, along with his fellow GOP leaders. He added that the American people were more interested in bipartisanship during the legislative process than in their seating arrangements during a speech.

On Face the Nation, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that the bipartisan seating would likely reduce the "cheerleading" that typically occurs during State of the Union addresses. McCain said that recurring standing ovations detract from the speech, and he hoped that the mixed seating would cut back on those interruptions.

Personal Liberty

Special To Personal Liberty

You Sound Off! is written by our readers and appears the last Wednesday of each month. If you would like to submit an article or letter to the editor for consideration for You Sound Off!, send it to by the Friday before the last Wednesday of the month. To be considered, a submission should be 750 words or less and must include the writer's name, address and a telephone number. Only the writer's name will be published. Anonymous submissions will not be considered.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.