10/22/2012 05:53 pm ET Updated Dec 22, 2012

Romney and Obama Need to Turn Tonight's Debate Into a Conversation About Who we are as a Nation

On a recent trip to visit my family, my 87-year-old grandfather who has recently been reflective on life, said to me: "Nomiki, the secret to life is to recognize what you have and be grateful for it. That is it."  

On my flight back home I thought about what he said. Is that really all it's about? Be appreciative for what we have?

As I open the newspaper today trying to figure out what to write about on this fourth and last presidential debate, my grandfather's words hit me.  How would politics -- and the world -- progress if we focused more of our attention on what we have, our progress, than on what is wrong with society and what we demand? How would political campaigns look if we spent less time criticizing and tearing down our opponents? 

Some say our country is broken because of the failure to compromise. Compromise is just as much about discussing what we have in common as much as it is about what draws us apart. 
How would discourse improve and the electorate feel if we talked more about how far we've come together?   

Echoing my grandfather's beliefs, I believe the secret to life lies in having a healthy perspective on things. The secret is understanding that we are all connected and that problems that seem dire today were hardly headaches a century ago.  

As we step into the final days of this presidential election and watch the final debate, consider how much more inspired the electorate would be if our leaders reminded us not of how great America was or can be again, but of how great we, together, have made it. 

There is no critique of this race that I have not given. There are no words about this race that have not been written. And when I'm left speechless, I often take a walk and try to flip my perspective.

This blog is just about that. I challenge each of you readers and I especially challenge current and future leaders to frequently step outside of your comfort zones and echo chambers of negativity and criticism to appreciate the America we live in today.

 Of course we have work to do. But when you come from a place of appreciation rather than acrimony, it is easier to see the path through the weeds.  

I am not issuing a call for American exceptionalism, but one for American content. If politicians used debates as an opportunity to have a conversation with voters and not as one to attack the other, perhaps we Americans would realize it ain't all bad...