From NBC NewsJust when we thought this hostile election cycle couldn’t get worse, this happened. A Republican Party campaign headquarters in North Carolina was vandalized and firebombed.

I’m a Democrat, and this sickens me. Just as I don’t want to be threatened because of my political beliefs, I don’t want to see others be threatened because of theirs. We can disagree, we can disapprove, but we can’t demonize those whose views differ from ours. If we go there, we rip up the social contract that is the foundation of a free society. When political discourse degrades into threats and violence, we head towards anarchy and tyranny.

I am not the only Democrat who feels this way.

It’s not just our freedom that’s at stake. The world looks to us as a model of a functioning and sustainable democracy. If we allow violence to poison our political debate, as it does in less stable nations, we discredit ourselves and embolden our enemies. How can we offer hope to the oppressed in the world if they see our political system as dysfunctional and out-of-control? How can we demand freedom for political prisoners if the dissidents in our country fear for their safety?

When the mood has calmed after the elections, we need to take a hard and objective look at what got us into this situation so we can address the problems. But right now, we have to stem the rage that tearing our democracy apart. We need to bring civility back to political debate. We must call out politicians and partisan media who lie, spread baseless accusations, and spew hateful rhetoric. More importantly, we must show decency and respect to each other. We can’t wait for the other side or for political leaders to do this. We have to take responsibility and do it ourselves.

It is not too late for us to demand politicians to stop name-calling and stirring up anger and to tell us their plans to make our society better. As Americans, we must stand up and say, “Enough.”