Sen. Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, has suggested that Republicans and Democrats sit together during this month’s State of the Union address, rather than being divided by party as is the tradition. The White House has called this an “interesting idea.”
This isn’t going to save the world, but I agree. Yes, it’s a symbolic gesture — and there is already plenty of comity across the aisle in Congress, a fact reflected in the outpouring of support from Rep. Giffords’ friends in both parties — but gestures can be important, and sitting Joe Barton next to Henry Waxman strikes me as a better gestural response to this tragedy than hastily passing onerous new restrictions on First and Second Amendment rights.
Besides, I’m a Federalist from way back, and I’d love it if Congress were seated by delegation rather than party. This isn’t a bloody parliament — MOCs represent the People and the States, not the Republicans and the Democrats, and I’d be pleased if our rituals reflected that.