It seems peace, compassion and empathy have taken a backseat to rampant fear, violence and vitriol.

It's hard to imagine another time in the country's recent history where we entered the Christmas season under such a dark cloud of discouraging discourse.

Turn to virtually any form of social media, cable news station or online forum and one can witness language usually reserved for enemies of the state. Hate speech has run rampant, particularly since the election of our current president, and some people have descended into harsh diatribes against their fellow man.

It seems peace, compassion and empathy have taken a backseat to rampant fear, violence and vitriol.

So, our wish for this Christmas season is simple: Peace.

Peace at the school district: We didn't support the efforts of Forest Grove School Board members who wanted to force out Superintendent Yvonne Curtis, but now that Curtis has left the district for a job with Portland Public Schools, we hope the board members will find a way to pay for outdoor school and the reduced class sizes they wanted.

Peace on the streets: Traffic just about anywhere during the holiday season can be trying, that's for sure. But motorists honking and shaking their fists at others only makes the problem worse. Build some extra time into your schedule, take it easy and enjoy the ride.

Peace in the neighborhood: There's a real good chance that there are people in your neighborhood who could use your help. Lend them a hand, if for no other reason that it can make a big difference. Who knows, some day you might be the person in the neighborhood who needs help.

Peace in business: It's easy to complain about long lines and wait times at your favorite coffee stop, grocery store or lunch place, but instead put yourself in the shoes of the people working at those establishments. Anyone who has ever worked with the public knows it's a tough gig, especially at Christmas time, and they could at the very least use a little slack. Calm down — you'll get your latte, snacks or sandwich soon enough.

Peace in government: A favorite target year-round, especially on anonymous internet sites, is "the government," as if that institution was manned by alien beings rather than people. Much of this sentiment stems from ignorance about what the government is responsible for and what legal measures it can take to get things done. Instead of complaining about it, get involved, or at least attend a local or state meeting, and try to work toward solutions that benefit everybody.

Peace online: Instead of posting snarky comments about literally everything on Facebook or Twitter, try posting about the positive things you're involved in or witnessed that day.

Peace in person: It doesn't take much effort to greet somebody warmly, but it may be the only interaction that person has with another human being that day and could make a world of difference in their lives.

Peace in our families: It's a blessing if you have family around this holiday season. Many people will not, so count your blessings and draw them close.

Peace to our readers this Christmas.

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