Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union Randomness

Whoever decided to rearrange the seating at tonight’s State of the Union address should get an award. Intermingling Dems and Repubs was a symbolic showing of bipartisanship and my skeptical side laughed when I first heard about it. But the result actually appeared genuine and civil.

The President made his points and many of them signaled a willingness to deal with issues more than party rhetoric. The Republican response was almost as genuine. I found my off button long before the tea party whininess, uhh I mean 'response'.

All of that ‘in front of the camera’ civility and spirit of co-operation is great, but it remains to be seen if it lasts. My idealistic side says it will, my realistic side says it won’t.

For the past 26 years I have lived an hour’s drive or less from the Capitol but I have never been to a session of Congress. Shame on me. There is a public gallery and it is not all that difficult to get in. I think the process starts with a simple request to your Representative or Senator. As part of my job I have interviewed Senators and Representatives from Louisiana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Wisconsin, California and Georgia. I should have just asked one of them.

Hmm, I’ve been a registered voter in Maryland for the same 26 years and have never interviewed my own Representatives or Senators. I’m going to fix that this year. I also plan to ask one of them for an invite to a session.

I thought the President’s initiatives relating to education and infrastructure are on-target and necessary. The voice on my left side says that is something the government should fund. The little whispering voice on my right side wonders how we’ll pay for it.

The best part of all of this is that the American form of government allows for and encourages spirited debate of multiple points of view and as a country we usually eventually get it right. Sometimes I hate the debate and the crap that often comes with it, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything. God bless America!

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