Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

The presidential debate represents a coarsened public discourse that has been going on for years. Much of today's political dialogue involves painting the opposition as anti-American as possible.  People with sincerely held beliefs are casually dismissed as “bigots,” while immigrants and others are often talked about in dehumanizing language. The loss of mutual respect in American culture isn't good. Rather than see our political opponents as problems, we should see them as fellow Americans, worthy of respect and worth listening to. This can be hard at times but our convictions about human dignity should run deeper than our party allegiance. This election year has featured some of the worst parts of the American experience. But it needn’t be so. We should and we can recover a sense of civility in our politics. But as always, the task doesn’t begin with others, but with ourselves.