Confronting Political Manipulation
Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.
POLITICAL manipulation seems so common that we accept it as normal. But it isn't. And we can do something about it!
Political manipulation whether it takes place in a government, corporate, institutional, church, or family setting suggests that someone has power to twist information and events in a manner that suits his will and plan. Essentially this is saying that someone can play god. Most of us reject the notion of having a person usurp God's place. There is only one God. This omnipotent God has given us a commandment in the Biblical book of Exodus: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (20:3). We can't give God's power to a human, even if we wanted to. But what can we do?
We can pray to the true God, who is omnipresent Spirit. And our prayers will be heard and responded to.
When a strike was threatening our school district, I found great support in a Bible passage from Isaiah: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (55:8, 9). In this particular instance, union leaders were making promises to the teachers that they had no ability to fulfill. They were stirring people up through mass rallies. The desired political tension had definitely been achieved.
I didn't want to be in the judgment business. But how could I think about this situation in a manner that would effectively benefit all those involved? Those verses from Isaiah filled my thoughts, along with a verse that follows them: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (55:11). I continued to reason and pray from the understanding that God was my communicator and my true consciousness. I was able to recognize that God is the only cause, motivator, Spirit, under, behind, and around each teacher and that He would bring about an equitable solution. I prayed to understand that because God is the only power and governs us all, union leaders couldn't have the ability to give the union and themselves power over God. And there couldn't be weak or weary mortal minds in teachers to be manipulated and hypnotized into doing anything that could hurt anyone. God would communicate to the heart of each one involved exactly what he or she needed to hear and know, and each would respond to God's perfect message.
But the strike went on for almost two weeks.
To my surprise I was asked to step in and teach as a substitute. This required me to take my prayers into the classroom. I hadn't wanted to cross picket lines, or make a political statement for or against either side, but God had other plans for me. In forty-eight hours I found myself in a fourth grade classroom. I was busy in my classroom, but my prayers continued-far more fervently-for everyone. I knew God was the only cause and effect, the only mediator and negotiator.
To help me pray I wrote a reminder on a card and kept it with me. It was this passage about God, divine Mind, from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind, controlling every effect and recognizing all causation as vested in divine Mind" (p. 379). This book was written by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, who acknowledged God as the actual communicator and source, and Christ Jesus as her Way-shower.
When the strike did end, the unethical union leaders were removed from their positions. Teachers were cared for, but the strike was not rewarded. The children had not been abandoned while the situation was resolved. The political manipulation had proved so ineffective that everyone could see that it would not be a voice or power any time soon. In the years since then healthy negotiations have taken place between administration and teachers.