The view from lower Manhattan is radically different. Without two, giant towers to look at we seem to be focusing on one, glorious Lady Liberty. Let’s take this as a metaphor and a message for the politicos. We need to
change the views.
For a brief moment, we got the Senators all singing together. Now they’re back to their pack mentality, roaming the halls in cliques and bullying each
other. Will there be no peace between parties? Probably not. Unless we change the seating!
Sit the Senators in alphabetical order, or better yet, sit them democrat/republican/democrat/republican. Think about it. Don’t you wonder why, exactly, the senators sit divided, across the aisle from each other?
Here’s what The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee told me. ”Tradition.” Tra-‘dish-an. The handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction. (Websters) THAT’S IT? There’s no law that dictates the seating?
No. But seniority does come with better views. Lott and Daschle have the
best seats in the house. Dayton and Allen have the worst. Jeffords moved from sitting next to Bennet to sitting next to Kerry. He’s on the democrat side this year. But he’s not a democrat.
So what started this ‘aisle’ tradition anyway?
Betty Koed from the Senate Historical Office told me with great passion that contrary to what people think, the seating has nothing to do with our common association of democrats/left and republicans/right. The process of splitting up the parties began after the Civil War and the seating followed. She said, “We don’t know why they chose each side.” But she took my fax number and about three minutes later faxed me six pages to read. See? Government can work quickly!
Here’s what you need to know. According to an article by Robert C. Byrd,
“The custom of grouping senators’ desks by party is very old but not always rigidly followed.” “Apparently during the 1840’s and 1850’s Democrats could be found sitting at random on the Whig side.” It was in 1877 that the practice developed of moving desks back and forth across the center aisle to permit all the members of each party to sit together. Only twice did the balance of power become so uneven that democrats spilled into the republican side and vice versa. During those two times, the seating became known as the “Cherokee Strip,” suggesting that the overflow of majority party senators were off their reservation. Ouch.
Remember when we were younger in elementary school where the idea was to learn how to play well with others? The teachers sometimes sat us
boy/girl/boy/girl. Since the senate is not yet made up of fifty percent
women, that seating arrangement is out of the question. But let’s get back
to the point. We don’t seat the Black Caucus together, or group the Women Senators together. So why do we insist on “tradition” when playing well with others clearly isn’t happening on the Hill?
I SAY SWITCH THE SEATING AND SWITCH IT FAST! In order to proceed governing this country in the spirit of healing and cooperation, I see no other way than to mix up the seating. No more cheating. No more bullying. And Senators? The practice of writing your names on the desks when you leave? Isn’t that graffiti or tagging? You are all on thin ice. Now go to your room and think about this!