This letter is in response to Andy Schmookler’s commentary of July 13 titled “Voters punish weakness.” In this piece, Mr. Schmookler states: “For the past generation, the Republicans have shown themselves to be strong and immoral, while the Democrats have shown themselves to be good but weak.”

As a citizen and resident of the Shenandoah Valley, I find this statement to be insulting, historically inaccurate, and without merit. By using identity politics to justify such a gross generalization for one political party, Mr. Schmookler again has contributed to a lack of civility that currently plagues this nation.

Bipartisan conflict is healthy and a strong component of our democracy as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. However, this “friction” must be based on facts and not innuendo, name-calling and gross generalizations. One can argue strongly but the key to maintaining a healthy and civil democracy is to both respect one another while separating the man or women from the idea and at the end of the discussion to move on for the greater good.

If we cannot be civil to one another in our daily discourse and stop the generalizations that Mr. Schmookler and others employ, our quality of life deteriorates, and society itself begins to unravel. Unfortunately, we have reached a point in America where incivility on both sides of the aisle has escalated into violence and I suspect it will continue to do so as we approach 2020.

Mr. Schmookler, as a prize-winning author and educator, can do better than this. Future columns should address issues here in the valley and outline a specific plan to address them versus spewing unfounded generalizations that accomplish nothing.

James R. Poplar III, Quicksburg