After a heavily armed man fired on Republican congressmen at baseball practice, many blamed our overheated political environment for promoting violence.
Exactly why he opened fire, we can never know. It was clearly the act of an unbalanced mind.
But regardless if the political climate caused the shooting, many people are now asking whether our policy debates are too often full of anger and personal insults. When that kind of behavior goes unchallenged, the next step can be hatred — and for some, violence.
With our government and culture so polarized, there will be anger. Many people feel the other side is out to take things away from them - their money - their freedom - their dignity.
That creates an "us-against them" mentality that is very difficult to break. We need to keep in mind that the people with whom we disagree probably care no less than we do for family, home, community and country. We need to regain a mutual respect for each other in order to overcome both the poisonous politics of our time, and the huge challenges ahead for our country.