Rowell: Now, now, play nice Sen. McConnell

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By Larry Rowell

Possibly it was in kindergarten I learned that there are people whom I will never like and vice versa.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get along with those with whom we disagree or dislike.
And to go along with that life lesson, I also picked up that when you share a sandbox with several other kindergartners — even when one is mean or a bully — you learn to play nice.
Playing nice involves trying to get along where you won’t get sand kicked on you. It also requires that you share your bucket and shovel with others.
In addition, some of the best experiences in a sandbox have to do with learning to work with others — such as in building a sand castle.
But the greatest lesson I picked up was learning to get along when a teacher made me be “buddies” with someone I wasn’t crazy about.
Why are these lessons important?
It seems that our senior Republican senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, hasn’t completely learned these lessons from his preschool days.
As I write this column on Monday morning, it has been widely reported in the media that McConnell won’t go along with other members of the House and Senate, many of whom will forego sitting in their regular seats, with other members of their own party, for the president’s State of the Union Speech on Tuesday night.
Instead of sitting by party, many Democrats and Republicans have been pairing this year to show a spirit of bipartisanship after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) two weeks ago.
McConnell said Sunday that he will sit where he always sits.
“More important than the appearance of sitting together is what we do together. And the American people are more interested in actual accomplishments on a bipartisan basis here in the next six to nine months than they are with the seating arrangement at the State of the Union,” McConnell said on Fox TV’s Sunday morning news program.
But not all Republicans will follow McConnell’s lead on this.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he’ll be sitting with Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), while Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who came up with the mixed seating idea and circulated a petition among his colleagues, will be sitting in McCain’s usual seat.
Not only does this show a sign of trying to work with others with whom one disagrees, hopefully it will cut down on some of the whooping and hollering Democratic members engage in during the State of the Union Speech.
It’s distracting and demeaning for Democrats to jump up and down and scream like adolescent cheerleaders at a ball game.
Though I do not agree with the majority of President Obama’s liberal agenda, I do, however, believe that in light of the serious issues facing our country, the democratic congressional delegation should comport themselves with dignity during the speech.
It’s important for all Americans, even members of Congress, to concentrate on what Obama says and what he’ll propose to assure us all that better days lie ahead for America.
I hope McConnell will change his mind about sitting with a Democratic “buddy” during Obama’s speech.
If not, then I hope and pray that he, along with the entire congressional delegation, will learn to work together to right this ship of state and point her in the right direction.