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Public discourse is breaking down today and it needs to be restored. We used to be able to dialogue and debate ideas without getting ugly. We can disagree on ideas. but  what we cannot disagree upon is that each person is valuable, that each person has inherent dignity, and that violence employed to settle a dispute is never justified. When we shoot each other with words meant to cripple we shouldn't be surprised that verbal bullets eventually find themselves becoming the real thing and loaded into the kinds of assault weapons that put Steve Scalise in intensive care. Civility is languishing and every citizen must play a role in resuscitating it. This means that good citizenship  musters the courage to tell the hyper-partisans that incitement to violence isn't acceptable. This is because good citizenship transcends party affiliation.

 

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center