This is a difficult time for all of us, especially people trying to find a rational middle ground. So reading “Maine Voices: Fear-mongering by liberals on ACA repeal incites hostility and violence” (July 12), written by a psychologist (Mark Holbrook, Ph.D.), was like reading an article from The Onion: pure irony.

Psychologists know we all have bias and that we all see the world through our own experiences. Using provocative language about fear-mongering is engaging in the same behavior that the writer professes to abhor. If the steady drumbeat is to stop, it needs to stop with each individual.

How? Start with “the other side.” Like it or not, there is no “other side”: We are all in this together. None of us is going to “win,” especially at the expense of our neighbors, our family, our friends.

In this mud-slinging fray, we are all guilty. When we talk about other people, we need to be striving for neutral language. If we don’t like actions like rioting, we need to condemn rioting, not liberals, not Republicans, because it doesn’t matter who riots, we think rioting is wrong.

When we talk about other people, we need to talk about them as individuals. Sweeping statements about groups, as though every individual in a group is a cookie-cutter person, is lazy. We get to label them “the other side” and dismiss them. In fact, every individual is much more complex, and giving “them” a one-label name says something about us, not about “them.” It says that we are lazy and bigoted.

We might not like an action that someone took, but we have all taken actions in our lives that we have regretted. We have all said inappropriate things and been embarrassed, regretful, ashamed. We can tell someone they offended us without being offensive ourselves.

If we have an opinion to share, more people will listen and weigh the merits of our arguments if our opinions are backed up with supporting facts, such as personal experiences and scientific studies. We need to acknowledge that our personal experiences may be different from other people’s and that both experiences are true.

If we don’t like fear-mongering, we need to change the way we, as individuals, think and speak. There is no “other side.” There is only us.