I felt great anxiety in the hours leading up to the debate. That anxiety continued throughout the 90 minutes but much of it transformed into feeling deeply disturbed and disgusted. If I could use just one word to express how I felt it would be toxic. There was a toxic environment spewing out the screen and I absorbed that toxicity into me.
Afterwards, I discussed the debate with my three friends that I watched with. I cleaned the kitchen and then I went for my longest run of this year. I let the toxicity seep out of my pores. I literally puked the toxicity out into a bush. I swam in the brisk lake just past midnight and cleansed myself of it all. I ran the last leg home with the cold wind on my wet, hot, nearly naked body. Then I wrote.
I can’t control the election. I can’t control the politicians. I can’t control the laws or policy.
But I can control myself. At the end of all those disturbing feelings, I was left with feelings of determination and inspiration. I am doubling down on my conviction to be the change I wish to see in the world. My response is to do more.
To the lies… I commit to living and speaking in deep truth.
To the toxicity of the debate… I commit to improving my communication and taking a course in Nonviolent Communication. I commit to listening.
To the focus on problems and diversion from solutions… I commit to focusing on solutions to our problems and sharing and supporting solutions in action.
To the hate…. I commit to being love and expressing love. I commit to creating peace through my actions and words and creating healing and safe space for others.
To the refusal to admit when wrong… I commit to deep transparency, to being truthful that I am a flawed human. I commit to being honest when I don’t know an answer.
To the waste of time and resources of unfruitful conversation… I commit to living the change and to spreading my resources to initiate productive change.
To the lack of respect… I commit to acting out of a deep love and respect for humanity.
My response is to do more and do it with love.