Let’s get the civility back in politics

The election is over.

We have the next two months to get used to the idea that Donald Trump will be our nation’s next president.

I’ll admit, I’m not thrilled. Then again, I really wasn’t thrilled with either of our major party choices, and the fact West Virginia’s Electoral College votes were determined months ago doesn’t help.

I’m over it. I am hereby instituting a politics free zone around myself that I know absolutely no one will observe. I’ll hear about the election at home. I’ll hear about it at work. I’ll read about it in social media.

But I need time. I need time to figure a bunch of things out about my own life, and I need time to figure out how I feel about this election, how the candidates acted during the last two years, and how the nation is reacting to the results.

There was a complete lack of civility throughout this election. There was mudslinging as I have never seen. There was controversy of untold levels. It was ugly, and it continues to be so.

It used to be that while candidates might have had opposing views, they and their supporters were at least respectful of each other.

They shook hands before and after the debates. They attacked the policy, not the person. They left family out of it. They certainly didn’t make comments about private citizens or do anything to encourage violence.

Emotions rose to new levels among the people of this nation. They became passionate about the election, for better or for worse.

But, the election is over and we have to find a way to move forward. I’m by no means saying forget about the results and the disappointment. It’s OK to not like a nation’s leaders. It happens all the time.

One of the things that is so great about America, though, is that we have the opportunity to express ourselves and our concerns with the way the government is being operated.

We can contact our lawmakers, we can peacefully protest, we can put together petitions, and we can make our voices heard at the ballot box.

We don’t need to resort to violence or riot. We don’t need to hurt each other physically or damage someone’s property.

This election has brought out a great deal of darkness in this nation. There is a lot of hatred and ugliness on display.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

We can have civil debates on the issues, learning from each other and possibly even opening ourselves up to new possibilities.

It does not have to be an us versus them, red state versus blue state, Democrat versus Republican kind of nation.

In order for us to move forward, we have to find a way to bring some civility back, not just into politics, but into our lives in general.

We’re approaching the holiday season; a time where many of us think about the ideals of peace and goodwill.

Perhaps those who are elected to lead us, and speak for us, also should use this time to think about ways to get rid of some of the ugliness in government.

Washington isn’t always the best reflection of this nation, so perhaps it is time for the rest of the nation to step up and lead by example.

(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)