Keep This in Mind for Tonight's Debate

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A Couple Thoughts as We Head into Tonight's Final Presidential Debate

Just a little over a week ago, many of us—myself included—tuned into the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis. While there’s no denying the shock value of remarks exchanged between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I was pleasantly surprised by the positive (yes, positive) rapport they both eventually displayed.

The debate, unique in its town hall setting, was shaped by questions from undecided voters. Ken Bone, now an internet sensation and meme favorite, stole the hearts of many Americans in his red sweater. It was, however, Karl Becker who stole mine. His question, the last one of the night, was not only thoughtful but also incredibly humbling.

“My question to both of you,” he said, “Is regardless of the current rhetoric, “Would either of you name one positive thing you respect in one another?”

In case you’re not up to speed, the candidates’ respective responses are as follows:

Clinton: “Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that. I think that is something as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me.”

Trump: “She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter. I disagree with her judgment in many cases but she does fight hard, and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up. I consider that to be a very good trait.”

While Secretary Clinton could have focused more specifically on an attribute displayed by her opponent, it was still refreshing to see them strike common ground.

To add psychological perspective, we, humans, develop unique personalities through our experiences and genetic makeup. Those characteristics, the ones that color our lives and govern how we conduct ourselves, may, oftentimes, clash with other people’s. It is unrealistic to assume that everyone will always get along.

Even though there are people in the world I don’t care for much of at all, I can always find at least one positive thing to say about that particular individual. It may be difficult remember the good traits of an ex-boyfriend or a jerk that has treated you poorly, but trust me, it can be done.

That said, I encourage you all to identify a positive trait in someone you love and in someone you might not be as fond of. Being busy is not an excuse for being complacent. When we take the time to acknowledge the good, the stress associated with the bad melts away. Don’t worry, I’m not proposing a kumbaya powwow. Baby steps.

Let’s spread some positive vibes before tonight’s third and final debate!