Will Rogers, “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son,” once said, “This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it.” Even though Rogers said this more than 100 years ago, it remains true to this day.

These days, it feels like our country is more politically divided than ever. Many people dread talking politics with family or friends over fear of upsetting one another and damaging their relationships. Others have lost all respect for elected officials and the office they represent simply because they don’t agree with their political views.

It shouldn’t be this way. There was a time when everything didn’t have to be about politics and we have to work to get back there. We must love and respect our neighbors no matter what political party with which they identify. We can disagree with the political views of an officeholder while still respecting the office itself.

Our county can only move forward when we put politics aside and work together to make real change.

As parents know, our kids are always watching our actions and will imitate them. We must set an example of respect for future generations and put politics aside for the good of our country.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through http://mullin.house.gov, and at 811-A N York St., Muskogee, OK 74403, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701.