American politics has been a rough, nasty business, almost since the beginning: in the election of 1800, one of Thomas Jefferson’s supporters referred to John Adams as “A hideous, hermaphroditical creature.”

Arguably, things have been going downhill ever since.

But while politicians have often attacked each other, either directly or through their allies, there has usually been a sort of gentleman's agreement, a notion that it was only business, and that private lives were sacrosanct. In the last few years, however, it seems like that dividing line has come under attack. In speeches and tweets, President Trump has called for the jailing of his enemies and political opponents, and encouraged violence at protesters at his speeches.

Late last month, when details of ICE’s policing of the Mexican border came to light, many liberal protesters similarly began taking aim at the personal lives of members of Trump’s administration. Trump officials, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen were publicly berated: Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, VA, while Nielsen faced chanting protesters outside her home and a restaurant where she was eating.

Many members of the liberal political establishment, including Nancy Pelosi, bemoaned this lack of civility, echoing Michelle Obama’s sentiment that “When they go low, we go high.” However, a growing number of Democrats, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters, have taken another tack, encouraging protesters to continue their direct attacks against members of the Trump administration in their private lives. In response, some Trump supporters have threatened her life.

Your Challenge:

What place do you think civility has in politics? Is it an unchanging and universal standard that everyone is obliged to follow, regardless of the behavior of their opponents? Or is it a contract between opponents, a promise to act decently as long as your opponent reciprocates? Should we go high when our opponents go low? Should we strike back when they are disrespectful? Is civility a moral strength or a political weakness?