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Take Action: State of the Union Seating Campaign

January 23rd, 2012


“The dialogue in Washington isn’t working for anyone—not Congress, not Americans, and not America. We urge the leaders of both houses of Congress to permanently retire partisan seating at the State of the Union.”

– Jon Cowan, President, Third Way

If you support YOUR Congress sitting together at the State of the Union – please contact your members of Congress to let them know where you stand (and they should sit) in 2012.

Last year, with the leadership of Senators Mark Udall and Lisa Murkowski, we helped to end more than a century of tradition and had members of Congress sit together during the President’s State of the Union address. After another year of partisan heartburn, we are renewing and expanding this request:

1) Sit together during the State of the Union and make mixed seating permanent. The spectacle of one side of the room leaping to its feet and the other sitting glumly on its hands is just that – a spectacle. Let’s end this running joke once and for all.

2) Agree to a 24-hour ceasefire. In the 24 hours leading up to the State of the Union, we ask that politicians and their campaigns speak only about the merits of their ideas, not the demerits of the opposing party’s ideas.the other sitting glumly on its hands is just that – a spectacle. Let’s end this running joke once and for all.

3) Spend a weekend together. We ask that Congress set aside one weekend each year to gather together and spend time getting to know each other.

In short, we’re asking for Congress to sit together, not apart. Talk to each other, don’t yell. Know each other, don’t be strangers.

Here are some of the ways that you can help:

1. Tweet

Tweet your members of Congress using the hashtags #SitTogether and #24hrcivility. Call out egregious cases of incivility using the hashtag #24hrcivility.

2. Post

Ask your friends to support the #SitTogether campaign on your Facebook page. Link the letter to Congress and post the video or #SitTogether graphic on your page.

3. Tell the Story

Write a blog post about why civility in Congress matters and send us the link to your work. We’ll compile posts and add your entry on our Storify page. Check out our interactive Sit Together Tumblr and encourage others to play on Facebook and Twitter.