And the Lion Shall Sit Down with the Lamb

 
 
President Obama shakes hands with Speaker Boehner - photo by Jim Young/Rueters
 
Whether or not we can achieve the long-term civility and cooperation envisioned by President Obama in his State of the Union address remains to be seen. But at least for one night during this long cold winter, there appeared to be a bit of genuine warmth emanating from  the House chamber. The simple gesture of having the members of both parties sitting next to each other might actually begin to change the tone in Washington. (If nothing else, the tone of Speaker John Boehner’s tan finally seemed balanced.)

On this particular night the United States Congress  appeared to be the government  of all the people, instead of the usual partisan fans of two opposing teams in their assigned bleachers at a high school football game.

Since the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords there has been much talk about the need to change the tone of our political dialogue. While I will not speculate as to what degree the events in Tucson were influenced by the current level of acrimony between Democrats and Republicans, my years of experience in the tavern business have taught me that our discourse and tone certainly do matter. 

I have been witness to too many instances where a highly charged atmosphere combined with some  ill-chosen words  provided the license and excuse for the less rational patrons to display their violent tendencies. 

On the other hand though, I have experienced many more occasions where a kind word, a calming hand on the shoulder, or just the invite to sit down next to someone else diffused a potentially dangerous situation. So let us not discount the power of what we say or where we sit.

Tir na nog Irish Pub - Trenton, NJ

So in the spirit of proper tavern etiquette,  I would ask our politicians  to please remember the following points:

  • There is a place for everyone at the bar.
  • On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish.
  • The rest of the year we are all Americans.

Posted by: Chris Poh

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