Gordon: 'We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone'

These days a common occurrence is to turn on the TV or get online on social media platforms and see a wide array of concerns and angst on any given topics or issue. From former classmates arguing on Facebook regarding political issues or individuals taking verbal shots at others, the end result seems to have the desire to have the last word.

News outlets from the national nightly news to our local newspapers can stir up emotions ranging from concern to frustration to anger on a daily basis. At this time in our country when division seems stronger more then ever, there is not a singular origin of the angst and frustrations. There seems to be a burning in our current society running the gambit of topics. Whether it is concerns for our veterans, the opioid epidemic, the economy, the discussion of $15 minimum wage, opinions regarding the Green New Deal, or Maryland’s gerrymandering, one thing is certain … We didn’t start the fire.


In 1989 Billy Joel released an album titled Storm Front which featured the song titled “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” The popular song received significant media coverage and also won several awards, was nominated for a Grammy, and was a No.1 hit on the charts that year. The song itself featured notable moments in history from 1949 which was artist Billy Joel’s birth year to the song’s release in 1989.

Joel discussed in the song the world issues during the first 40 years of his life. The origin of the song was when someone young told Joel how it was different for Joel growing up in the 1950s as nothing happened during the 1950s and it was worse today then ever. Joel felt the need to write a song to give younger generations context to what had occurred before them. He also wanted young people to understand that there are lessons in history and they can benefit us both in the present and the future.

Each generation is handed not only challenges from previous generations, but they also inherit the positive accomplishments as well. In society today it is rather easy to blame the generations before or the world around us. We didn’t start the fire, but the better question is what we should each consider and what each of us as individuals can do to fight it.

One of the most valuable things each of us has is time. The challenge as we all know is that time is fleeting. You can’t find more or save it until later, but we are all very adept and guilty of wasting time. Heated debates on Facebook won’t accomplish much and obtaining the creative rebuttal to the last comment seems valuable, but it’s redundant. Instead of the last word, what about a kind word?

Former President Ronald Reagan once said “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

I agree with the sentiment that we all can help those around us and I believe we all should do so. Ask yourself what can you give? It could be money, but it doesn’t have to be. It can instead be volunteering at the local senior center, driving a veteran to an appointment, donating time to the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster, or donating items in need to The Shepherd’s Staff, or assisting the Westminster Rescue Mission just to name a few.

We are each handed challenges and responsibilities from the previous generation and society the question is what are we going to do with them?