[As Seen in the Huffington Post] A direct line to a TV newsroom for over ten years, I know the difference between journalism and theater. Last week’s extensive news coverage of the December 2 San Bernardino, CA attack leaving 14 dead culminated in the media descending on the carcass of the shooters’ apartment—the feeding frenzy staging at its best. The media asked us, if not demanded, “Are you afraid NOW?”

If you found last week’s dramatic news coverage warranted in light of the watershed moment this country, if not all of humanity, has found itself in, you’re not alone. The repercussions of what we do next will reverberate for generations to come.

The real battle isn’t the GOP’s America vs. Islam or even Democratic whispers for gun control. At stake is the soul of America. If America falls to racism and separatism once again, this time, we open the door for the rest of the world to follow our lead.

In Sunday night’s State of the Union address, President Obama said we cannot deny “the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities.”

No greater extremity exists within human society than war itself, regardless of the flag it flies. True victory is found not through war, but rather over war. The thought processes that give rise to perpetual war in all of its forms must be examined for sustainability.

History reveals decades of failed over-reaching U.S. foreign policy in a region of the world where fleeting allies are bought and sold on a daily basis while simultaneously bloodied into submission by the biggest bullies on the block.

The billions spent by the CIA, directly and indirectly, advising, funding and providing arms to groups that went on to become the TalibanSaddam HusseinOsama bin Laden, and Al Qaida exposes complicity in the global increase in terrorism. Blowback from the Iraq war’s destabilization of the Middle East has contributed to the rise of ISIL.

Short-term gains have resulted in long-term disaster for the rest of the world that never fails to trickle down to our doorstep. As a nation, we can continue to:

  • Expose home-grown extremism by those in and out of government.
  • Unite as a cooperative international community.
  • Commit to peace by realizing violence is the root cause of violence. This single statement is incredibly elementary, yet a violent person will never see the logic in it.
  • Demand accountability at all levels. It is the responsibility of nations and organizations where radicalism originates to takes steps to confront and address flawed ideology.
  • Enact strategic plans of peace-centered redirection, policy, and legislation.

As American citizens at home and abroad, it’s our responsibility to be this nation’s running boots on the ground. Together, our voices can and must be the unified voice of reason within our families, communities, and globally during difficult times.

Individually, we have the power to:

  • Remain courageous when others become fearful.
  • Examine inherited belief systems for limitation.
  • Realize safety in numbers through inclusiveness.
  • Cultivate higher consciousness by practicing mindfulness and participating in mass meditation for peace.
  • Seek out common ground, uniting through voice, vote, and volunteerism.

Extremism in any form is short-lived and limited under its own power. It literally destroys itself, qualifying it as an unnatural and unsustainable anomaly. It’s our response that determines whether or not we enable the abnormality to regenerate itself. This is no longer politics; it’s science.

The challenge is to use intelligence to ask ourselves if individual and collective thought, word, and action are rooted in unity or separation consciousness. One is the problem; the other the solution.