• Incivility is a symptom, not the disease. We've always had partisan conflict in Congress, and we always will. Yet when I worked for a year (1970-71) on the staff of Sen. Ed Muskie of Maine, this was a different place, more collegial, more sensitive to data, more concerned about all of the American people. I think because the for-profit media prizes conflict above cooperation and sound bites above analysis, politicians have learned to adapt to those tendencies. Consequently, our public debates are dumbed down as our problems grow more complex.

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