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Nicole Phillips, Published November 09 2012

Kindness is Contagious: Election’s end brings respite from ugliness

For the past two months, I’ve been walking around like one of those “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” monkeys. I’ve been closing my eyes, covering my ears and zipping my mouth. Why? Politics.

Every time I turned on the TV, switched on the radio or logged into my Facebook account, I was bombarded by other people’s opinions.

I love the fact that we live in a country where we can vocalize our thoughts. To me, that is one of the most beautiful benefits of living in the United States. The part I hate is when vocalizing our thoughts makes us ugly.

I am so thankful that this weekend, for the first time in a long time, I can safely go about my life without worrying about someone trying to discredit someone else’s character just to win an election.

I think sometimes we forget that these are real people we are talking about. People with families who care about them and who are hurt by the words we say.

Every story – on the news and in real life – has two sides. I became a much better journalist when I learned that lesson because it forced me to measure my words before they came out of my mouth. I’m pretty sure I became a better person, too.

Politics isn’t the only realm where negativity comes into play.

At some point during every basketball season, someone watching the Bison will say something about my husband that is hurtful.

Unfortunately, I’m usually standing with my children in earshot when it happens. I understand that my husband chose to be a basketball coach and therefore a public figure, but to my children, he is just Daddy.

Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Rick Berg, Heidi Heitkamp and all the others are just people who have families who love them.

Our negative comments not only hurt the person we are talking about, but they also hurt the people who care deeply about the person we are talking about.

I hope now that this election is over we can turn off the negativity and begin rebuilding a culture of kindness. We are a community. We are in this together. We can be the change we wish to see.

I hope you’ll spend this week smiling at strangers and sending notes to your friends just to say hi. Maybe we can all learn to follow the best advice ever given after the Golden Rule: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at nphillips15@

hotmail.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.

Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the executive director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.