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Gordon: Too many today stuck in ‘Land of Confusion’ | COMMENTARY

In 1986 the Genesis song “Land of Confusion” reached No. 4 on the U.S. music charts. The popular music video featured caricature puppets that included politicians of the day Jimmy Carter, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, Mikhail Gorbachev, Muammar Gaddafi, and Ronald Reagan who was dressed as Superman part of the time. The song was later released in 2005 by the heavy metal band Disturbed with a much more intense, heavy and foreboding version dramatically different from the lighter rock version of the 1980s.

Similar to the lyrics of the song, one can easily find most of us living in a land of confusion today. Whether it is the 24/7 bombardment of news with dramatic contradictory versions, people treating politics like pro sports teams, or the incredible anger and angst on social media where individuals are constantly trying to one-up one another to prove that they know more in an abrasive fashion.

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Some in society in its current scenario seem to be laser-focused on the notion of winning. But are they truly winning? Whether it is former high school classmates arguing on Facebook regarding the upcoming election or complete strangers taking shots at others on any topic, the end result appears that there are those who want the last word. This version of winning, though, is not truly a win in a positive sense, but rather just an energized attempt at getting the last word. The ability to one-up one another’s response or get a “mic drop” moment accomplishes very little in the bigger picture.

A few years ago, a friend of mine and I were having coffee, and they inquired as to my thoughts on a situation of concern. They were asked to give a eulogy for a family member who had just passed away. While a difficult and trying time without question for the family, it was the eulogy that concerned them the most. The relative in question had been estranged for a number of years and hadn’t been the ideal family member in some people’s opinion. The debate was, should they give the eulogy and tout this family member as an amazing person? Should they just pass on the request to give the eulogy?

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I mentioned that I once had witnessed a eulogy where the individual was heatedly portrayed in a less than perfect manner with the individual’s faults and flaws presented to all in attendance. That type of eulogy, while perhaps accurate, was one in which many of attendees were made to feel rather uncomfortable, and while the speaker did get the last word I questioned the value of it. Was a mic-drop eulogy or getting the last word that powerful? It would no longer matter to the individual who was no longer present. Perhaps the real power was having the ability to control the angst and feelings instead of getting in the last word.

I offered another option, which was to give the eulogy, but to only give a factual biographical example on the individual’s life.

The conditions we are experiencing currently are exacerbating many of the moments around us. Everyone and everything has been and continues to be affected by the pandemic and we are all experiencing it. Emotions, conflicts and stressors are running higher than usual, and it is all currently magnified.

The chorus in “Land of Confusion” includes the lyrics, “This is the world we live in and these are the names we’re given. Stand up and let’s start showing just where our lives are going to.” We have the opportunity each day to take our lives in a positive direction. The choice is ours.

Tom Gordon writes from Westminster. He writes every other Saturday. Email him at tgordonwrites@gmail.com.

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