“Being in the audience of the State of the Union is not a passive experience. Every few minutes when the president completed a thought, everyone stood up to clap. Stand up. Sit down. Stand up. Sit down. The sound of the springs in the aged chairs of the House Chamber became a secondary soundtrack. I was distracted by my discomfort and began to dread the end of his sentences. But then I noticed that not every person stood up every single time. I realized they only stood up when he said something their side agreed with. I decided that no matter what he said next, I was going to stay seated. I was really hurting. I was going to sit one round out. Well, as soon as I’d made my mind up that I was staying put, President Obama made a statement and everyone stood up. Everyone. Not half of the room. Every person in the room except me. It happened far too fast for me to correct my mistake. What did he say? “We need equal pay for women.” And I just sat there like a jerk. If the president himself had looked up and to the left, he’d have seen me just sitting there, seemingly opposed to equal pay for women! Good grief! I was not seated next to the first lady, thankfully. I made sure to stand up the rest of the time.”


Noah Galloway, Living with No Excuses: The Remarkable Rebirth of an American Soldier
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