01/19/2011 05:27 pm ET Updated 6 days ago

Return Civility to Washington

Help Bridge the Partisan Divide. Sign the Petition.I've often said that the best ideas are not Republican ideas or Democratic ideas; they're American ideas - practical solutions to our nation's problems that transcend political ideology. As your Senator, I've always tried to set an example by working with all of my colleagues, no matter from which party.

Last week, I called on Congress to make a symbolic gesture of national unity by abandoning the traditionally partisan seating at the President's State of the Union address. Many of America's greatest movements began with seemingly small symbolic acts, and I believe that the simple act of walking across the aisle to sit with our colleagues from the opposite party can become more powerful than any number of words we might use to bridge our differences in Washington.

The movement is catching on and more than 50 lawmakers from both political parties have committed to sit together. But I need your help to keep the momentum going.

Join me in making the State of the Union address a moment of national solidarity by signing my petition.

If you've already signed the petition and want to do more to spread the word, click here to commit to host your own bipartisan viewing of the State of the Union address.

The President's State of the Union address sets the agenda for the year - the challenges and opportunities we face. But what Americans see when they watch on TV is a Congress that is bitterly divided by party - one side of the chamber cheering and applauding loudly, while the other side often sits silent. This spectacle only serves to perpetuate the image that the President's speech is more like a football game than a report on the state of our country, and that Congress cannot - and will not - come together for the good of the country we all love.

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Tucson, President Obama called on America to honor those who lost their lives by "ushering in more civility in our public discourse." After serving over a decade in the House and Senate, I know that more unites us than divides us, and now - more than ever - we in Congress need to find ways to dial down the political rhetoric and set a positive example for all Americans. Let's start by reaching across the aisle and sitting together.

Help me return civility to Washington. Sign my petition and send a message to Congress that we are all - first and foremost - Americans.

Warm regards,

Mark Udall