The shooting tragedy in Arizona has prompted soul-searching across America about the climate of our nation and the tenor of political dialogue from representatives and voters of all points of view.
During a moment of reflection on TODAY, Matt, Meredith, Al and Ann hoped that this discourse helps spur an enduring change in attitude.
"The only thing that stops the loss of civility is us. It's not rules, not the democracy; it's our own sense of outrage over what is acceptable and what's not acceptable," Ann said. "It's already creating a dialogue about what we will accept and not accept in terms of incivility."
Meredith and Al agreed and added that they hope the discussion continues beyond this one incident. "I hope the dialogue is long-lasting," Meredith said.
But Matt warned that the causes of the apparent attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that left her critically wounded and six people dead may be too complex to be attributed simply to the heated political environment.
"There's insanity here," Matt said of suspected shooter Jared Loughner. "Is it possible that some rhetoric gets this guy revved up? It is, but I don't know if you can do cause-and-effect."
Matt also said that members of the media also may bear some responsibility for amplifying political rancor. "Maybe that has to stop as well," he said.
Watch the full discussion below, and let us know what you think in the comments.