Like many Americans, I am troubled by the ugliness, hatred and violence seeping into this political season. Like many other citizens, I am embarrassed by the behavior displayed at rallies, especially Donald Trump’s, where the candidate himself condones and encourages hateful antics on the part of his supporters in reaction to those they disagree with. I appreciated the reminder last Tuesday (LNP, 3/15/16, “Dark Side of Politics”) that such behavior is not new in this country. But admitting that Americans have stooped to such scurrilous treatment of each other before, as we air our political and philosophical differences in the public arena today, does not, in my opinion, justify it. Just by chance, my wife and I watched the heartwarming film, “Pay It Forward,” the night before the AP story offered us a rationalization for such ugliness. The contrast between the invitation to mayhem, harm, and bigotry issued by Trump and others on one hand, and the film’s appeal to the “better angels of our nature,” as Abraham Lincoln phrased it in his first inaugural address, really struck me. Who are we in the end, if not the children of Abraham, the Republican and the Hebrew patriarch? Both of them, I firmly believe, would have us “pay it forward,” challenge ourselves to do something good and helpful for each other and the world, rather than give in to the seductive, self-centered hatefulness offered up by politicians seeking their own advancement in these admittedly troubled times.