I watched the appalling presidential debates last night.

I should clarify; I watched as much as I could stomach.

I have never seen two grown men — both in twilight years, acting like school-yard-7-year-olds.

Initially, I laughed at the circus. Who doesn’t like ringside seats?

But the laughter quickly changed to countless cringes.

I looked over at my friend, only to see his face — too, horrified.

As we sat there — shaking heads in disbelief, I thought; in a free country, in a place where any dream can come true, in the mighty nation of the USA, these two are the cream of the crop?

These two, who both willingly engaged in the most deplorable behaviour I’ve witnessed in presidential debates?

These are the best options?

Some would argue otherwise, but if those are the two left standing in the ring, they aren’t just there by chance.

We helped create them. For politicians are simply a reflection of a cultures’ morality.

They ARE us.

And that is what pisses us off so much.

On both sides, you see thousands attacking the other candidate, digging up all their ‘dirt’ and dysfunction.

And both sides are making valid points about the other, mixed in with their own prejudices — of course.

But have we really descended to this? Where politicians are now openly behaving on live video — for the world to see, in the same manner that we do with each other on social media.

When petulant children run the country, it is because petulant children comprise the country.

Some say that leadership sets the tone. And while this is very true in terms of steering the ship, thousands of times in history, those lower on the totem pole have risen up — instigating and forcing healthy and positive change.

It isn’t just on the leaders shoulders.

Kids can become better than parents, even showing parents a better way of life.

Employees can bring brilliant ideas to work places, turning entire organisations around.

And citizens can righteously rise up; they themselves, modelling the wonderful change they wish for — even under seemingly lost leadership.

The world will always be a sum total reflection of the collective wills upon the planet.

What we tolerate, we give consent to continue.

Real change doesn’t start by bashing and belittling others, whether in leadership or not.

Real change starts with us — you and me.

If society has allowed leaders to rise in ranks, then the problem isn’t in the leaders.

The problem is in the land.

One of the hardest things to do in life is face our own darkness; the evil we are still very capable of carrying out — whether in speech, action, or on social media.

Pointing out problems in others never solves situations.

When we finally decide it’s time for change, that change will start with us living by example; speaking only words of life, posting only what is beneficial for others, and acting in ways we long to see our children behave in.

Those who both tell themselves the truth at all costs, and seek positive change in the world, eventually retract all pointing fingers — and then place them where they have always belonged.

In the mirror.

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash