Living up to our kids' expectations

We're stunned with sadness by the tragic events on January 8th, which killed six people, including nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life.  What President Obama said in the memorial service resonated deeply: "It's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."  

In that pause, join us in urging Congress to take steps toward increased national civility and unity in our democracy. For one small step, Sen. Mark Udall is proposing that members of both political parties sit next to each other at this year's State of the Union address set for January 25th, instead of using the normal seating pattern which is divided by party.  

Use the form to the right on this page to sign our short open letter (And when you sign on, feel free to also take a moment to share what more you think members of Congress can do to live up to a democracy as fair and just as our nation's children imagine it. We'll share your comments with top Republican and Democrat leaders in the House and Senate).

Sign Today!
We urge every member of Congress to honor Christina Taylor Green, along with the other victims of the January 8th tragedy, and all of our children by living up to their expectations for a kind, decent, and fair democracy.

Congress can start in this direction with the small, first step of Republicans and Democrats sitting together during the State of the Union set for January 25th.

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    Dear Friend,

    Last week, at the memorial for the victims of the January 8th tragedy in Arizona, President Obama asked our country to live up to the expectations of nine-year-old victim, Christina Taylor Green: "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations." [1]

    This week many politicians and pundits across the country slid back towards their usual over-heated language.[2]

    We've got to get a message through to Congress that we need them to live up to the expectations of our nation's children. We need our leaders to work together.

    Sign on now to our letter calling on Congress to begin living up to our children's expectations--starting with the first small, step of Republicans and Democrats breaking tradition by sitting together instead of separated by party during the State of the Union this coming Tuesday.

    * If you've already signed on, THANK YOU. You can still do something though, please forward this email to the two people you know that would also sign on too. The more voices we all bring together, the stronger our impact!

    In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, many of us felt some hope when given the opportunity to support this proposal for mixed party seating during the State of the Union. Is this a small and largely symbolic first step? Yes. But breaking tradition to have mixed party seating during the State of the Union, for the first time in almost 100 years, is a powerful way to model cooperation and unity for our children and ourselves. [3] And, frankly, doing something positive is far better than letting the corrosive, caustic rhetoric return to our political culture.

    Right now our country needs to act on ideas that will bring us closer to the democracy our children deserve. Families are still reeling from the largest recession since the Great Depression, and nearly 1 in 4 U.S. children are experiencing food scarcity due to family economic limitations. So we need all of our leaders to work together for our families.[4]

    Bipartisanship and civil dialogue has led to great legislation in our country in the past. The Civil Rights Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) are just a few of the major pieces of legislation that have passed only because Republicans and Democrats worked together.[5]

    Some members of Congress are hearing our calls for renewed dialogue between parties.

    Since just last week when we first launched the petition for mixed seating during the State of the Union, Senators. Charles Schumer(D-NY) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), along with 58 other members of Congress, have announced that they'll sit together during the State of the Union. [6, 7]

    Let's keep the MOMentum going, sign on to our open letter to Congress today:

    Together, we can get Congress to start living up to our children's expectations, starting with the first small step of Republicans and Democrats sitting together during the State of the Union.

    And, together, we are a powerful voice for women and families,

    -- Sarah, Kristin, Donna, Ruth, Joan, Nanette, Mary, Anita, Ashley, and the MomsRising Team

    [1] "Obama’s Remarks in Tucson," New York Times, January 13, 2011

    [2] "Morning Bits, Washington Post, January 20, 2011

    [3] "In this year's State of Union, seating could blur party lines," Miami Herald, January 21, 2011

    [4] "Bipartisan Timeline," Bipartisan Timeline

    [5] “America's economic pain brings hunger pangs” Washington Post, November 17, 2009

    [6] "Schumer, Coburn Plan to Sit Together at State of the Union," Roll Call, January 16, 2011

    [7] "Sixty lawmakers back bipartisan State of the Union seating plan," The Washington Post, January 22, 2011

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