It's Good To Laugh

bob schieffer CBS

We have heard it for years on the radio. First an electronic tone comes on, and then the announcement, "This is a test. Had there been an actual emergency..."

Well, what we're realizing these days, that this is an actual emergency, and yes, it is a test--not a test of the radio transmitters, a test of us.

We are experiencing in a small way the anxiety of wartime London; how it was in Saigon during that war, when soldiers in the fields would go for days without seeing or hearing the enemy, and then come to safe Saigon on a three-day pass and see people killed by a hand grenade thrown into a cafe.

The president counsels calm and patience, but that means more than waiting for the government to track down these killers. It also means keeping our wits about us and being patient with the inconvenience of increased security and the occasional overreaction.

The other day, 98-year-old Strom Thurmond fainted on the Senate floor. And Capitol police were on such a hair trigger, they closed off the entire Capitol, even the parking lots.

Well, such things will happen, but we can't let them unnerve us or get to us. Better to laugh. It was sort of funny anyway, even to Thurmond.

After the attacks on the Twin Towers, road rage faded in this country, and we saw a return to civility, as we all remembered we are all in this together. It is from that bond that we draw our greatest strength.

We ask what can we do to help now. Well, one thing we can do is to remember that this is a test by those who would break our spirit. In a battle of wits, civility is a powerful weapon. After all, our brains just work better when we're in a good humor.



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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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