If you spend any part of your day online, it’s pretty difficult to avoid America’s far-reaching outrage machine. Each day, some new controversy promises to further the divide Americans socially, politically, culturally, or racially. Each day, another prominent person is accused of saying or thinking something large swaths of the American people find repugnant. Each day, we draw new battle lines.

We dress our skirmishes up in the trappings of actually important topics like race equality, national security, or economics, but our actions don’t mirror our noble ideologies. Democrats call Republicans the party of prejudice, despite defending the racially-insensitive actions of men like Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Republicans call Democrats the party of financial irresponsibility, despite the national debt exceeding $22 trillion (the highest in history) two years into what was supposed to be a fiscally-conservative administration.

If it’s been a while since you’ve been in a locker room, you may not recall what it means to go “nose deaf” to your own stink. Put simply, going “nose deaf” is what happens when you spend so much time surrounded by a stink that your brain starts skipping past it to help ensure you can identify other, different odors. Your buddy with the stinky room in the dorms or barracks didn’t know his room stank. To him, there was no bad odor at all. He’d simply gotten used to it.

In today’s politics, we’ve become nose deaf to the stink emanating from our own political parties. That doesn’t mean you have to do away with them, but just like the guy with the stinky barracks room, it does mean it’s about time for housekeeping. In his case, it might mean throwing out the pile of trash that’s been sitting in the corner of his room. In our case, it means something similar.

When someone in our political party finds themselves wrapped up in whatever trending outrage the nation has grown enamored with this week, many of us tend to circle the wagons. It’s a perfectly natural response to a threat within what we perceive to be our social group. Back in my rugby days, when I saw a big lug from the other team take a swing at one of our ball carriers, you’d better believe I was the first one to sacrifice myself on the altar of the penalty box to give that big guy something to think about when he got home that night (usually in the form of black eye or broken nose). We take care of our own, and we ought to take pride in that.

But (and there’s a big but coming), when do we take a step back and decide that maybe some of the guys on our team deserve to take a few lumps? When do we acknowledge that sometimes it’s more important to be right than it is to be unified in defense of our own?

Allow me to (seemingly) be the first person to make this controversial statement in a piece being run by a news outlet: there are legitimately bad people in both political parties. The flip side of that, of course, is that there are also a whole lot of legitimately good ones.

I’m a big gun guy. I love my guns and I own more of them than many Democrats think anyone ought to. My passion for firearms and for the Second Amendment is not so fragile that it can’t sustain debate. When I find myself sitting across from someone with a zeal for new gun control legislation, I try my best not to attack, but rather to engage. Often, you’ll find gun control folks don’t realize that the functionality of an AR-15 closely resembles that of any semi-automatic hunting rifle, or that it’s simply one platform in a large sea of products that do the same job.