Mark Thompson has grown tired of the "debate over debate":

The trouble with incivility and complaints about incivility is that it is an endless downward spiral and cycle.  If Team Red attacks Team Blue in what Team Blue perceives (rightly or wrongly) to be an uncivil manner, Team Blue will respond in kind, regardless of whether it responds in degree as well.  Such a response will be justifiable as self-defense, except that act of self-defense will not be perceived as an act of self-defense by Team Red, but instead as an act of aggression.  And so Team Red will respond in kind, regardless of whether it responds in degree.  Often, Team Purple will help make things worse by throwing a sucker punch and blaming it on someone else by pretending to be neutral.

His larger point:

If we in fact are interested in improving the quality of tone and debate in this country, then we have to first commit to improving the quality of our own individual tone and debate rather than demanding that everyone else first do the same, and definitely rather than demanding that everyone else accept blame for everything they’ve done in the past.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.