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Time to return to respect, civility

Can we now agree to restore civility and respect to politics?

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s baseball diamond shooting, the need for respect and civility never has been greater.

Two legislators with Northeast Michigan roots — current U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman and our former State Sen. John Moolenaar (now a congressman) — were at the field as the shooting unfolded. Apparently a man intent on “killing Republicans” shot and wounded four, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, before he was shot and killed by Scalise’s security team.

We need to bury the rhetoric, stop feeding into the frenzy and begin acting again like a civil society rather than an anarchy-fueled mob.

Everyone has to be disturbed by this latest incident. Unfortunately, it is just the latest in a series of eroding values within our democracy.

Like it or not our legislators, from the president down to the local dog catcher, were elected by the public and represent each of us. As such, they deserve our respect. We don’t need to agree about everything with them, but we need to respect the office they hold.

As such, we think most readers would agree holding a mock severed head of the president is in poor taste. We believe protestors shouting over others at public hearings is inappropriate and offensive — especially during a prayer to open a meeting. And, we believe those attending demonstrations such as the recent one in Portland armed with weapons and ammunition clearly are not there to protest, but rather to agitate and create mayhem.

These are the type of things that must stop. All these forms of protest can be just as effective when done peacefully and responsibly.

Shortly after the shooting House Speaker Paul Ryan said “an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” to which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi quickly agreed.

Bergman, talking to reporter Steve Schulwitz later Wednesday about the shooting, called for decency to return to politics. “We can either be part of the solution or remain part of the problem. People are being incited and what is happening defies any type of logic,” he said. “We have a responsibility to set an example for what good behavior is about.”

It is time to restore good manners back into politics.