We are all walking a fine line these days

The nation is angry.

I’m not entirely sure when it happened. I don’t know what caused it. Perhaps it always has been that way and we’re only now taking notice.

More and more, I see or read of the anger of people over the various issues going on in the U.S.

It is no longer limited to political bickering in the halls of government, or disputes in certain communities.

Just about everywhere you look, and probably more so thanks to today’s technology, there is fighting over every topic imaginable. It is not about debating anymore. It has devolved into childish name-calling, threats and more just because someone doesn’t feel the same as others.

All too often, I see the approach of “You’re side lost, ours won, so deal with it and fall in line so we can get moving in the right direction.”

Yes, there should be some effort to move forward. That’s the only way to get through the obstacles we face. But some kind of cooperation is needed to face any challenge. It can’t just be going with the “winners'” way and the “losers” can’t do anything about it.

You see, that’s one of the great things about America. We don’t have to agree with the things going on in this country.

We have the right to speak our minds, to express our informed opinions and even to peacefully protest the actions of our government.

There is nothing in our country’s laws requiring us to toe the government line. We can speak out without fear of a tank being sent down the middle of Main Street or some secret police force taking us away in the dead of night.

But, we also have a responsibility to make sure we are using those rights in a way that doesn’t take us down the paths to be like those nations.

We can voice our opinions, without personal attacks or threats, for example. That goes for everyone. Criticize the stance of a political party, or a judicial ruling, or even an executive order. Don’t threaten the lives of those involved in those decisions, or the lives of their families.

Even our Founding Fathers didn’t agree on everything, but when it mattered they tried to put their pride to the side and work for the betterment of the nation.

There have been decisions by current and past public officials with which I have not agreed. I don’t limit my criticism to a particular political party, either. Both sides have faults, and they should be pointed out.

However, I’m not going to e-mail a public official and threaten to come after them with some kind of weapon just because we don’t see eye-to-eye.

This is a dangerous path to be on, and anger will only make it worse.

There may be times where heightened measures may be prudents in order to get a point across, but it should never be to the point of physically threatening or harming an individual or group.

This nation is better than that, at least I thought we were.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)