It’s not hyperbole to say last week was one of America’s worst. On Wednesday, a deranged gunman stepped into a grocery store in Jeffersontown, Ky., and killed two African-Americans. Over several days last week, a far-right extremist mailed pipe bombs to some of the country’s most prominent progressives and Democratic politicians, from George Soros and Tom Steyer to former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. CNN’s New York studios on Columbus Circle had to be evacuated in the middle of a broadcast. And on Saturday, an anti-Semitic lunatic stepped into a Pittsburgh synagogue during Saturday services and killed 11 innocent people in cold blood.

After all this trauma, you have to ask yourself: What is happening?

Because we tend to have short memories, it’s worth reminding ourselves that politically and racially-motivated violence is nothing new. The baby boomer generation has seen this type of callousness firsthand: the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., in the 1960s; anti-establishment groups like the Weather Underground, the New World Liberation Front, and the Symbionese Liberation Army exploding hundreds of small bombs in America’s major cities in the 1970s; plus anti-government extremist Timothy McVeigh bombing a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people in the 1990s — the deadliest act of terrorism on American soil other than the Sept. 11 attacks.

In the 1960s and 1970s, America was going through radical societal changes, spurred on by opposition to the Vietnam War, between races, creeds, political persuasions, and generations. While the 1990s are often typecast as America’s golden age, when the U.S. economy was booming, crime rates were dropping, and American dominance around the world was unquestioned, the decade also hosted a rise of white separatist militia groups across the Midwest who regarded the U.S. government as a colonizing oppressor.

The carnage we see on our television screens today, however, feels different. Many of us assumed America was past the growing pains of earlier decades and that we were a more mature country. As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as people who put dialogue over street violence to get our way or make our point. Indeed, U.S. politicians in both political parties preach to the world that bombs and bullets aren’t the way to resolve political differences; if you are frustrated, disillusioned, or disenfranchised by the system, the way to change it is through peaceful participation in the political process. This, after all, is what modern society calls for: Present your proposals, talk it out, and attempt to come to a compromise.

Regrettably, compromise has become a dirty word in politics. Republicans and Democrats talk about compromise as if they covet the word and are interested in bringing Washington back towards civility, but when it comes down to negotiating on the big issues (immigration, taxes, healthcare, infrastructure, national security), political leaders often scurry to their separate corners. Many Democrats, especially those pondering a presidential run in 2020, are frightened to be outflanked from the Left. GOP officeholders, in turn, are terrified of further angering the already angry Right. Common sense is often sacrificed to the wolves, negotiations break down, and the partisan fog over Washington gets thicker.

There have been quite a few stories suggesting that President Trump shares most of the blame for the spate of recent violence. While much of this concern is peddled by Democrats as political ammunition in a hotly-contested midterm election year, the hypothesis is not entirely wrong. Trump’s base loves the nativist, authoritarian, strongman rhetoric against immigrants, George Soros, Muslims, marauding caravans, and globalists. Trump loves delivering for his base.

Yet as former President Barack Obama himself observed in a speech to college students this past September, the divisiveness and hate didn’t start with Trump. “He is a symptom, not the cause,” Obama remarked. “He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.” It was created in part by people like Newt Gingrich, who regarded politics as bloodsport. It was accelerated by Karl Rove (whose campaigns essentially revolved around calling Democrats unpatriotic cowards) and Democratic lawmakers (who considered President George W. Bush to be intellectually deficient). Politics took an especially dark turn with the rise of the Tea Party, the birther movement, and the systematic Republican obstruction that resulted — all of which caused yet more hatred between the parties and a significant increase in hostility toward the other side.

[Opinion: Obama, the Great Divider when in office, lacks the credibility to lecture America]

The most basic medicine to remove some of the stink of politics is introducing more decency and civility into the discourse. Unfortunately, by the looks of the moment, civility no longer attracts votes. Until it does, and until politicians, including Trump, pull it back and start treating each other as human beings rather than arch enemies that need to be destroyed, Americans may have to prepare themselves for more senseless violence.

Daniel DePetris (@DanDePetris) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. His opinions are his own.