Remember the shock and outrage most of us felt when that Republican congressman shouted "You lie!" at President Obama during a speech?

That was in 2009, and the moment seems quaint now.

Decorum in politics is endangered, even among the elected officials who work for us. With MAGA's tightening clutch on American politics, "You lie" has been replaced by "January 6th" in the lexicon of civil erosion.

But you don't need binoculars for a glimpse at Washington or a primer on Trumpian conspiracies to witness a functioning democracy disrupted. Rude and disrespectful rhetoric has found its way to the political left in our own backyard.

First, there's the case of Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, who told community activist Al Flowers to "Shut the f--- up" last month at a heated council meeting. Flowers was heckling him during a vote to approve a liquor license for Merwin Liquors store, which over the years became known as a trouble spot for violence and drug deals in the neighborhood.

Flowers, who opposed the liquor store application, crossed a line. In video captured by local media, he appeared to be saying, "You the Muslim."

Was it human for Ellison to feel hurt by an activist singling him out by his faith? 100% yes. This jab was personal and uncalled for. But was it appropriate for an elected leader to hurl an F-bomb from the dais? Absolutely not. To his credit, after a quick recess Ellison apologized for breaking decorum.

Then, days later, Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw, speaking at a committee meeting about homeless encampments, launched into a tirade in which she called her fellow council member a "fraud." It started when the committee chair and the target of her attack, Council Member Jason Chavez, asked her to refocus her statements, eventually trying to gavel her into order. It ended with him abruptly adjourning the meeting, but not without her getting in the last word.

"I said what I said," Vetaw said. "Wah wah wah, I have a tiny violin for you."

You can argue that Vetaw was unjustly cut off, or that she was engaged in the worst kind of political theater (she is not even a sitting member of the committee). But what saddened me is that until her outburst, she had been saying something important about the crisis of the city's unhoused population. She spoke movingly about growing up in the painful chaos of her mom's crack cocaine addiction. When she sees the encampments, she sees how addiction is ruining families and lives under the city's watch.

"When you've seen it firsthand, when you've seen this addiction, when this hits your family, when this hits your life, you can't be OK with this," she said. "This is not OK."

But Vetaw got in the way of herself, sabotaging whatever point she was leading up to that could have informed the city's policies on how to respond to the crisis.

Are these moments newsworthy? Maybe not in and of themselves. But residents have got to feel dispirited when their leaders resort to cursing or a shouting match while conducting city business. And what are they disagreeing about? This is Minneapolis, after all, a progressive town where inches rather than miles separate council members on the partisan continuum.

Thankfully, newly elected council leaders are trying to hold their peers to account. In an email I obtained, titled "Decorum and Expectations," Council President Elliott Payne and Vice President Aisha Chughtai recently reminded their peers about the need to treat one another with respect.

"While deliberation and disagreement are natural aspects of our work, adherence to our mutually agreed-upon standards is non-negotiable," they wrote. "Should you find yourself unable to meet these expectations, we expect you to connect with your colleagues outside of formal meetings to resolve those differences amicably. Behavior that fosters a hostile work environment, violates our rules, or disrupts our City's democratic processes will not be tolerated."

Reached by phone, Payne told me that's he's not naive to the fact there are some "major personalities" in his line of work. But he said the council members all share a responsibility to uphold the values of the institution. If residents see their leaders acting poorly, that undermines public trust in the system. He urged me to look at how the erosion of that trust can threaten our democracy and put public servants, from election judges to county clerks, in danger, and even lead to a violent insurrection against our Capitol.

"As elected people, we need to model the type of behavior that we want to see in society," he said. "There's a saying that all politics are local. We're moving into an era where all politics are national."

And it's not just politics. People in general seem meaner today in youth sports, on airplanes and at school board meetings, so it's not surprising that our culture has shaped the behaviors we observe in government. Still, elected leaders ought to hold themselves to a higher standard of decency and advocate for a democracy that works, especially as most of us steel ourselves for the vitriol building up to the presidential election.

Payne told me he's working with the city clerk to develop training for the City Council on how to conduct themselves; he hopes to roll it out within the next few months. When he sent the memo about decorum weeks ago, he was hoping it would spark conversation among his colleagues.

"But it's mostly been fairly quiet," he said.