Now sit together and play nicely!

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Main Question or Discussion Point

It has been suggested, and apparently without opposition so far, that members of Congress are no longer seated separately, by party. The idea being that by simply mixing up the seating arrangement, a psychological wall will come down.

A simple gesture, perhaps, but it has all the overtones of an idea with insidious, simple elegance. I am all for it!

MARK SHIELDS: ...I mean, I think it was Jesse Jackson that said, we came over in different ships, but we are all in the same boat. And I think that has to be acknowledged, admitted, and worked upon at this point.

One of the encouraging signs was Mark Udall, the senator...

JIM LEHRER: Yes, I was going to ask you about that.

MARK SHIELDS: Well, the senator from Colorado, freshman Democratic senator.

JIM LEHRER: Yes.

MARK SHIELDS: And he's proposed -- we have all watched this puppeteering in the State of the Union.

JIM LEHRER: Oh, yes.

MARK SHIELDS: Our side gets up and cheers. Then the other side gets up and cheers. And we sit on our hands. Then they sit on their hands.

And he suggested that they all sit together, I mean, you know, not sit on strict Democratic side and Republican side. Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senator from Alaska, has cosigned a letter with him. Nineteen senators have agreed, including John McCain. Ten of the 19, interestingly enough, a number of them Republicans, are women. Maybe that will be the leading in civility.

But that is an encouraging sign. And even Kevin McCarthy, the Republican whip in the House, has sort of given it a semi-endorsement anyway.

But that's a step, I mean, that we can sit and talk with each other and we're human beings.

JIM LEHRER: Why would that be important?

DAVID BROOKS: Because the chief dynamic in the Congress is the herd mentality, my herd and your herd.

I have stopped -- when a member of Congress starts telling me about the other the party, I almost want to stop listening, because I know what is going to follow is going to be false, because they just don't know the people in the other party very well.

And so they get this herd dynamic. And it is materialized in the way they sit together and meet together and react as one. And, if you actually physically interspersed them, I think it would defang that herd mentality, and actually have a material difference, because the geographical way they organize their lives is -- has an effect.

I was on the Senate floor before the session with a senator, and he was showing me the desks. And I wanted to go see the Kennedy desk, but he was a Republican. And he said, oh, it's somewhere over there. It's like he didn't quite know where it was, because it was on the other side of the floor. And that's...

JIM LEHRER: Well, I mean, it is a room. It's not very far.

DAVID BROOKS: Right. It's not a very big room.

(LAUGHTER)

JIM LEHRER: Right.

DAVID BROOKS: And he is a great senator, but, you know, there's that difference. And it's worth breaking up on every occasion.

JIM LEHRER: You think it could matter? You think it could really matter, too, right, Mark?

MARK SHIELDS: I'm hopeful, Jim. I mean, it's subject to verification. And you don't want to be unrealistic. But I'm hopeful. I really am.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/jan-june11/shieldsbrooks_01-14.html [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pengwuino
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  • #3
lisab
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Me too. Have to start somewhere, a tangible gesture could be a good start.
 
  • #4
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Good aisles make good neighbors.
Taiwan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW3cudDZ4n0
Nigeria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLWCgq4LPA8
Ukraine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD0XZlxKuig
South Korea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Pqhnf6XKC8
Russia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZGaaqH2o6I
 
  • #5
918
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Here are a few more:
Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdldgpzHBtg
India: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYewI_l-aAI
Bolivia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjMeQoIq36c
 
  • #6
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:rofl: I have to give the Administration credit on this one - really! With all of the new Republicans "in the House" - there will be a lot less people standing up to show support - for him.

If he wants to see the whole room stand up - then say something that makes sense.

PURE NONSENSE and THEATRICS - IMO.:yuck:
 
  • #7
Ivan Seeking
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:rofl: I have to give the Administration credit on this one - really! With all of the new Republicans "in the House" - there will be a lot less people standing up to show support - for him.

If he wants to see the whole room stand up - then say something that makes sense.

PURE NONSENSE and THEATRICS - IMO.:yuck:
So you are suggesting that rather than taking credit for a highly bipartisan gesture, Obama conspired to allow a Freshman Senator have all the glory? Nevermind that the Dems still own the Senate, which is where it started. I guess the Republicans giving their thumbs up rather than deferring comment are in on it as well?

And Jimmy predicts a bar fight if we change the seating? Are you saying that all of those fights wouldn't have happened if the seating was different? If so, do you have any evidence for this or is it just wild speculation with no basis in fact?
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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The Tea Party has made it clear that they don't want compromise or diplomacy. They don't want to see a functional Congress that works together. Could this be the basis for the objections?
 
  • #9
Math Is Hard
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I love the idea. And if some Kung Fu fights should break out, so much the better!
 
  • #10
Hurkyl
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The Tea Party has made it clear that they don't want compromise or diplomacy. They don't want to see a functional Congress that works together. Could this be the basis for the objections?
when a member of PF starts telling me about the other the party, I almost want to stop listening, because I know what is going to follow is going to be false, because they just don't know the people in the other party very well.
 
  • #11
i love the idea. And if some kung fu fights should break out, so much the better!
shbingo!
 
  • #12
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when a member of PF starts telling me about the other the party, I almost want to stop listening, because I know what is going to follow is going to be false, because they just don't know the people in the other party very well.
Hurkyl - you are always fair (IMO).

Do you think changing seat assignments will actually change anything other than the depth perception of unity?
 
  • #13
Hurkyl - you are always fair (IMO).

Do you think changing seat assignments will actually change anything other than the depth perception of unity?
Not directed at me, but, nope. I think it's still worth doing, if only because I'd dearly love to see a congressional brawl.
 
  • #14
russ_watters
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I love the idea. And if some Kung Fu fights should break out, so much the better!
Yeah, I don't watch C-Span, but this could change that!
 
  • #15
They should arm each member with nerf swords, lances, shields, and maces! Their aides could be their squires... meleeeeeeee!
 
  • #16
918
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And Jimmy predicts a bar fight if we change the seating?
No I don't. I think that this is an attempt to fix something that isn't broken. I presented a few examples of what it looks like when it's broken. As for a Congress that works together, I don't want to see it. From here it looks like a one-party system.
 
  • #17
Al68
when a member of PF starts telling me about the other the party, I almost want to stop listening, because I know what is going to follow is going to be false, because they just don't know the people in the other party very well.
That's as dead on as a post can get. Just don't expect them to ever realize (or admit) it.
 
  • #18
That's as dead on as a post can get. Just don't expect them to ever realize (or admit) it.
Are you making an ironic point by saying, "them", or do you truly not get it?
 
  • #19
Al68
Are you making an ironic point by saying, "them", or do you truly not get it?
OK, I'll bite: What is it you think I don't get?
 
  • #20
OK, I'll bite: What is it you think I don't get?
Who is "them". In a general way, you're still unwilling to let go of the desire to divide into oppositional groups; you just re-define them.

edit: I actually recognize that I've earned "I'll bite". I laughed at that, because frankly, I need to work on it.
 
  • #21
Al68
Who is "them". In a general way, you're still unwilling to let go of the desire to divide into oppositional groups; you just re-define them.
I have no such desire. I didn't make people different. This isn't QM, observing reality doesn't cause it.
 
  • #22
I have no such desire. I didn't make people different. This isn't QM, observing reality doesn't cause it.
Um Al... that doesn't happen in QM either unless you believe in some form of the CI, I guess.
 
  • #23
Al68
Um Al... that doesn't happen in QM either unless you believe in some form of the CI, I guess.
Well, the CI is the most widely accepted interpretation, but I didn't anticipate the need to be that specific for this purpose. Regardless, it's a little off topic here.

My point was that the fact that people are divided into oppositional groups for each issue is an unavoidable consequence of some advocating the use of force against citizens, while others oppose the use of such force. I blame the group advocating the use of force to get their way, not the group advocating "live and let live".

And Hurkyl's post that I agreed with the pointed out the obvious observation that it's common for members here to go out of their way to describe a point of view they are clearly ignorant of.
 
  • #24
Well, the CI is the most widely accepted interpretation
Not even close to being true; can you back up that claim? I'd be amazed if it's true on this website alone. I think you're just saying things as though they're facts, but they're not facts. Frankly, I care a whole lot more about QM interpretations that this thread, and rightly so I think.

but I didn't anticipate the need to be that specific for this purpose. Regardless, it's a little off topic here.
It's an unfortunate turn of events, but hard to avoid on a physics forum.

My point was that the fact that people are divided into oppositional groups for each issue is an unavoidable consequence of some advocating the use of force against citizens, while others oppose the use of such force. I blame the group advocating the use of force to get their way, not the group advocating "live and let live".
OK.

And Hurkyl's post that I agreed with the pointed out the obvious observation that it's common for members here to go out of their way to describe a point of view they are clearly ignorant of.
Yeah... more irony.
 
  • #25
Al68
Not even close to being true; can you back up that claim? I'd be amazed if it's true on this website alone. I think you're just saying things as though they're facts, but they're not facts.
Yeah, I just made that up out of thin air. :uhh: According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics" [Broken] even calls it the "standard" interpretation.

Any evidence to the contrary? Or is saying "not even close to being true" just saying things as if they're facts, when they're not facts?
 
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