“The bashing needs to stop -- Democrats bashing Republicans, Republicans bashing Democrats -- it all just needs to stop.”

“It makes me want to not vote.”

“It’s really negative, it’s not really saying anything about the candidate, it’s just putting down the other opponent.”

These are just a few of the critiques some individuals have about today’s political tv ads. But when poll after poll continuously show a rise in candidates’ numbers after they run attack ads on their opponent, should we expect the negative ads to stop? The answer isn’t to stop political ads altogether. After all, how else will voters know who’s running and what they stand for?

While attack ads may not show it, government does, in fact, serve as a tool for communities to create the change and improvement they desire. Rather than perpetuate negative experiences during election cycles, what would our world look and feel like if we create positive and hopeful messages? We should aim to create positive experiences through storytelling, by putting the true heroes of our progressive story at the forefront.

While I can’t control every negative political ad that runs during elections, I encourage progressives to think beyond the go-to anti-government language and instead think about the larger issues we face, highlight the true heroes of our story, and think about how they can serve as a tool for the hero to achieve the larger quest.

I believe our nation is at a crossroads when it comes to how we view and talk about our government. We can continue on the dark path of pitting our communities against each other through negative partisan politics, or we can choose the harder path and communicate with our audience that when we work together, stop partisan bashing and lead with what matters most to us, we can and will reclaim how we think about government.