Ignorance + Fear mongering = War.

Close your eyes and imagine your dad or grandpa being treated the way the Arab man was treated in Cleveland this week after he sought medical treatment to help him get better. How would that make you feel? What would you do about it? What would that make you think about the place and people where it happened?

We are becoming the scary place to visit in the world.

The scary places to visit in the world are put on a world stage to be scolded and told what to do.

The scary places to visit in the world are left out of the equation when negotiations are made.

The scary places in the world are bombed and terrorized continuously because so many see it as the enemy, and they need to be fixed.

We are not supposed to be the scary place!

We are cotton candy and baseball games. We are Disney World and New York City. We are apple pie and California dreaming.

Coca Cola and ice cream sundaes are long past the image of the USA to the rest of the world.

Why am I saying this? Because I’ve been told more than once by several people I know that it makes no difference what the rest of the world thinks of us. Do you have any idea how ignorant a stance that is?

It matters what the world thinks of us.

It matters not only for tourism but for world leader status, for healthcare, for technology, for trade, for education, for the money in our pockets. It will effect how we live, the world we leave to our kids and grandkids and beyond.

If we become the enemy on the world stage, no one wants to be like us anymore. And if no one wants to be like us, it means they don’t like us, and they won’t play with us. They want to stay as far away as possible, and that’s when things go wrong. That’s when they retreat to their corners planning their attack.

We have to get back to being a nation of acceptance, and that doesn’t just mean tolerance. We aren’t here to “tolerate” others. We are here to welcome others, to be loving, to understand each other, to get to know people.

Get to know people!

We must stop the fear mongering, the hate, the blatant stupidity that is not just being worn on our sleeves but shouted out of our mouths like never before.

We can’t be king of the world and be hated by the people. It doesn’t work that way. Those kings get assassinated. Read some history books. There’s some learning to do. A lotta learning to do.

Open your eyes now and see people. Really look at them. When you peel back all the layers that have piled up because we are afraid of each other, something beautiful underneath is revealed. It’s called a human being. A living, breathing, walking, talking person that has a family, talents, perspective, is hungry and thirsty, craves knowledge, has friends, and loves someone.

Go to a community meeting where you’re the minority. Listen, watch, engage. Get to know someone and become Facebook friends. Get their phone number and use it.

Invite a new family in town to dinner, the family without the same skin color as yours. You might have the best time you’ve had in a long time. Break bread together.

Take your kid to a new playground where you don’t know anyone. Watch what the little ones do. They’ll find each other. They’ll get along. You may even meet another mom or dad or grandmother who you’d like to see again.

Knowledge + Acceptance = Peace.