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This is Only a Test

By Dianne Witte

“This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. It’s only a test. If this had been an actual emergency….” This familiar warning might be well applied to the political situation today.  Tune in to any media outlet and you’ll find reports of chaos and fear. Every day there seems to be some new “emergency” according to reports. The alarm is sounded over every action.  However, we might sit back and consider that this is “only a test.” It’s a test of our democratic system. It’s a test of our individual metal, and more, but, it’s only a test, there is no actual emergency.

Our response, our reasoned, measured and thoughtful response, to what we are encouraged to think is an emergency, is needed at this point, not panic and fear and added chaos. Do we trust our system of government? Has this happened in the past? If so, how was it resolved? Have we forgotten Watergate? McCarthyism? The Ohio Gang of Harding’s administration? I could go on, but the point here is, we don’t need to panic. Our country has survived and thrived despite many seeming threats.

I’ve gone the way of protests. When President Bush was threatening to invade Iraq in 2003, I felt somehow compelled to join the bus trip to Washington, DC to express my opposition. It was invigorating to travel with like-minded companions, and march in the cold streets of DC, sharing the comradery of a shared point of view. In retrospect, however, I’ve come to realize I might have responded in another way, or was it an opportunity to learn? At any rate, there are many taking to the streets since the election to protest the newly elected government. I respect their right to do so and support their process, but I would suggest they consider another way.

To respond as reasoned, mature adults, you might go inside and find your own “way.” Or take the example of, Mahatma Gandhi, who said “My greatest weapon is mute prayer.” Another way is from Tao, “wu wei”, “action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort.” Then there is Christ’s invitation to “love your enemies” or the way of nonviolent communication shared by Marshall Rosenburg.

Take into consideration what Carl Jung, noted psychologist said, “What you resist persists.” Others have added “What you accept, changes.” So true, in fact, everything changes, doesn’t it?

John Assaraf, in “The Secret” says, “Here’s the problem. Most people are thinking about what they don’t want, and they’re wondering why it shows up over and over again.” Now that’s a thought to chew on.

I realize, these are not easy responses, but we have now learned that anger, fear and violence are not viable responses to anything. We are ready to try a different way. Instead of protesting, we learn a new way to demonstrate, supporting what you are FOR. Consider first, what you are FOR, not the knee jerk response of what you are AGAINST. Don’t isolate yourself, rather seek friends who are like minded and wanting to find a better way. Join a group discussion, start a book group reading Marshall Rosenburg’s “Nonviolent Communication.”  Imagine what you want to do that is positive. Booyah.

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