Ten years later, when I return to the House floor, there are few members of Congress I enjoy seeing more than Maxine Waters. The fact that our friendship began in a heated exchange makes it more special.

We agree on little politically, but I know Maxine Waters loves her country and wants to help those in desperate need of her assistance back home. That keeps us talking, and that is what might make all the difference between a broken government and one that can face the great challenges of our day.

Politicians and media figures need to stop exaggerating political differences for the sake of high ratings or campaign contributions and focus on how to balance the budget, end two wars and get America back to work. If debating with respect and civility can work on “Morning Joe,” it can work elsewhere. And if I can transcend past mistakes by reminding myself daily to “Keep calm and carry on,” I’m just crazy enough to believe that there’s hope for everyone.