Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

In the wake of violent unrest in the Middle East, it is hard to not reflect on what we have in terms of civility in our public square. As most know, our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, was killed after the U.S. Embassy in Libya was stormed by militia on September, 11. Three other Americans were killed in the attack and riots are taking place from Tunisia to Malaysia. A 14 minute low budget film called  "The Innocence of Muslims" that was posted on YouTube sparked the attack.  It was not a flattering view of  Mohammed but the response to the video is appalling.

Al Qaeda is now calling the killing a "gift." Most people think of a gift as a good thing. But Al Qaeda is not like most people. "We encourage all Muslims to continue to demonstrate and escalate their protests … and to kill their (American) ambassadors and representatives or to expel them to cleanse our land from their wickedness," said the statement by al Qaeda. The group called last week’s killing of Stevens, "the best gift you (can) give to his arrogant and unjust administration.

It would be a gross understatement to say this is not the way to handle a disagreement. Calling for American ambassadors to be murdered in protest of a video they had nothing to do with is absurd.  A take away from this is that in the heat of our political differences, which will culminate in the November 6 election, each of us should practice charity and respect towards one another–especially those in opposing political parties. One can disagree and make a case for their policy position without assassinating another’s character. And one can be enthusiastic and steadfast in protest without resorting to violence. This is the norm here, but it’s not guaranteed.