It's politics. It's not war.

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Opponents are not mortal enemies. They are friends and neighbors.

POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENTS often are over-dramatized, frequently mean-spirited and seldom exhibit reluctance to shade the truth - or flat-out lie.

Think that's an exaggeration? We all live within the reach of Illinois television stations, so just watch a few of the paid political messages fired back and forth by candidates in the Land of Lincoln. A visitor from another planet, told this is how we select the leaders of our society, likely would not think highly of the human species.

There was a time when Wisconsin people correctly thought their politicians behaved better than the neighbors to the south. Now, that's just nostalgia.

Case in point: The new ad from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir.

IN THE AD, she is sitting at a table facing the camera. By her right hand is a holstered handgun. She talks about having received death threats for her support of Act 10.

"Ever have someone threaten your life for something you believe in? I have," Vukmir says. "When Scott Walker and I beat the union bosses, cut billions in taxes and defunded Planned Parenthood, the Left couldn't take it. With President Trump we can do the same in Washington. Standing on principle takes guts. I know what it takes."

The implication is unmistakeable. The other side is not just the opposition, it may pose a mortal threat. Arm yourself. Radical action may be required to subdue the enemy.

THIS IS POLARIZATION on steroids. Or, maybe, gunpowder.

This is divide and conquer by whatever means necessary.

Wisconsin, try to remember: Both sides are your friends and neighbors. Politics is not war. Behave better than this.

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