It’s Time For Americans To Meet America
Until each and every American makes the effort to KNOW better, we’ll never DO better. And we all DESERVE better. So let’s take this opportunity to BE better.
If you haven’t taken a road trip outside your home state; if you’ve only vacationed at a Disney theme park; if you’ve never seen or spoken to a non-white, non-Christan, non-straight, non-native-born person/American in the flesh- I welcome you to introduce yourself and maybe even take a little adventure! It can be a weekend journey or a cross-country road trip. Take a giant leap of faith (intimidating and scary as it might be), physically leave your local comfort zone, and meet your fellow Americans! Our little corner of the world is an amazing place filled with "mixed nuts" (aka people of various backgrounds, creeds, colors, cultures, ethnicities, etc.). Get out and see as much of America- and meet as many of those who inhabit America- as you can!
City dweller? Head for the hills- or the plains- or uninhabited waterfront. The best yoga studios cannot compete with the peace and quiet found in naturally open spaces. Rural/suburbia dweller? Visit your state’s capitol/largest city, jump onto the largest available form of public transportation, and take a walk through the bustling downtown.
Visit a place of worship that isn’t of your creed- maybe even talk to a practitioner. Go to a state/county fair. Relax to some jazz or a symphony in the park. March in a "Marade" or join a celebration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Personally, physically participate in a large charitable event. Eat some authentic Mexican/Indian/Ethiopian/Italian/____ food. Try some clam chowder, some greens, (real) NY pizza, and anything directly from a farm/farmer/farmer’s market. Call your mother/aunt/sister/girlfriend(s) to ask how- and what- they’re doing, and if you can support them in any way. Watch the British film "Pride", go dancing or just grab an adult beverage at a gay bar- maybe even attend a Pride-fest. Talk to an iron worker, a carpenter, a union member at a construction site- most importantly, your kid’s teachers. Cheer on your local school’s sports teams. Do something- ANYTHING- to expose yourself to everything and everyone you consider somehow "foreign" or "unknown" or "different". A variety of people from every walk of life can easily be found with just a little effort, an open mind, and an welcoming smile.
Education can be found beyond the pages of books, outside of any school or place of "higher learning" through experiences, interactions- through all-American adventures! As my all-time favorite basketball coach preached/screamed, "Open your eyes! Open your eyes!" I have followed my beloved coach’s words of unparalleled wisdom since I was 12 years old. I’m sharing his guidance so that you, too, will make the effort to be exposed to the wonders of our country, and to the wonders of the "mixed nuts" I love- aka my fellow Americans (and every immigrant/resident/visitor who wants to BE an American).
We are a unique country with such great variation in geography, in livelihoods, in demographics- in freedom. We must get to know all of America before we destroy her.