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  • Writer's pictureAvi Abraham Benlolo

Living in the Land of Confusion

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

National Post 01/14/21 Avi Abraham Benlolo

As a nation, we must go back to our foundational roots of faith, morality, compassion and kindness

Maybe it’s COVID fatigue, but lately, every week seems to be carrying with it a different theme song in my head. Since Zoom became a way of life 10 months ago, its been mostly “Zombie” by the Cranberries. But since last week’s rampage on the United States Capitol, the radio frequency changed, replacing “Zombie” with the “Land of Confusion” by Genesis.

Its lyrics express our deepest level of anxiety: we “must’ve dreamed a thousand dreams; been haunted by a million screams,” and we can “hear the marching feet; they’re moving into the street.”

There simply is no other way to express the confusion, paralysis and fear everyone is feeling about the events taking place around us. How can we ignore the sight of violent rioters rampaging through American streets that began with the George Floyd protests in the spring? People fighting in the streets. Shootings. Buildings desecrated. Broken glass everywhere. We are all losing sleep.

Hoping that “danger’s gone away,” we turn to each other wearily each morning and ask in despair, “Did you read the news today”? Yes, the so-called “news” that is fed to us each day by a biased, agenda-driven media. Politicians look to score points at our expense. Who to believe? Some incite. Others lie. They promise that “the danger’s gone away.”

In this land of confusion, the only truth-teller between the pandemic shutdown, insurrection and impeachment proceedings in Washington is my theme song’s haunting words: “I can see the fire’s still alight, burning into the night. There’s too many men. Too many people making too many problems. And not much love to go ’round. Can’t you see this is a land of confusion”?

Most days, it feels like we are living in the biblical story of the metaphorical Tower of Babel. The story goes something like this: Humanity was finally united after the Great Flood (The Great War for us). We spoke a single language and lived peacefully. Eventually, we became arrogant, materialistic and egotistical to the extent of even wanting to build a tower into the heavens. Naturally, disagreements ensued. We became divided, disorganized and confused. We spoke different languages. The tower came tumbling down.

Likewise, America is divided. An armed insurrection on inauguration day is now anticipated. If America fails, we all fail. How did we get here? “Everything’s gone wrong somehow. The men of steel, men of power, are losing control by the hour.” Where are they now? Where is our stability? Where is our rock? “Ooh Superman, where are you now”?

The pandemic hasn’t helped. It has jeopardized our well-being. It has distanced us from each other, creating a real and present danger to the very foundation of our communal life. The incongruities of daily alerts from authorities coupled with a disorganized distribution of the vaccine and weak leadership has degraded our faith in government and institutions.

There is no “Superman” coming to rescue us. What’s necessary in these times of trouble is leadership, strength and conviction. As a nation, we must go back to our foundational roots of faith, morality, compassion and kindness. Figuratively speaking, we must speak one language again. Our path forward must include one step back to our very beginning — of service to our nation and to each other. A step back to our national Genesis.

Those were the days when we came together in spirit and conviction and self-sacrifice. We fought and died for our freedom and our democracy. We have to try our hardest to get out of this land of confusion, because as the song pleads, “This is the world we live in. And these are the hands we’re given. Use them and let’s start trying. To make it a place worth living in.” National Post

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