I want you to watch BOTH of these videos. The first is obviously the original done by Genesis released in 1986, while the second is a cover done by the group Disturbed, released in 2006.
The reason I want you to watch both videos is, I hope, fairly obvious.
Both versions of the song show just how horrible that our world has become, and both are meant to be a rallying cry to those who want to build a better world.
In the fall of 1985, I was just starting my senior year of high school. The 80s were a very tumultuous time in America, and in the world. We were trying very hard to be compassionate and helping others (Live Aid, “We Are the World,” growing sanctions against South Africa for apartheid, education and press for research into the cure for HIV/AIDS, etc.), or at least that was the impression we wanted to give.
But, it was also the rising tide of capitalism as the be-all-end-all of expected behavior. The Almighty Dollar began to mean more to us than our fellow humans. As long as something brought dollars into stockholders’ pockets, it was ignored if it impacted the “poor” because the poor “deserved” to be poor.
Deregulation was the political watchword – because, of course, corporations will do the “right thing” all of the time, right? It’s not like history hadn’t already shown that unless restrained, corporations DO choose to make inhumane choices that kill hundreds if not thousands of people. “Trickle down economics” was the theory of the day.
Thing is, looking back on that time and assessing what’s going on in the world now – both versions of the songs are correct. What we need to do is stand up and fight to make a better world. We need to find ways to make better choices in our society, without giving up our freedoms.
And that’s where the politics of fear comes in. Just like in the 80s, we have politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle selling fear. The conservatives AND the liberals are both doing it. They are each setting things up so that the other side is the enemy, and often both sides are doing what they can to dehumanize and demonize the other side. Disagreement is considered somehow “unpatriotic” or “inhumane.”
The more afraid that we – the public – are, the easier it is for our government to take away freedoms in the guise of making us “more safe and secure.”
I’m going to leave you with one more song. If we can stand together, even if we disagree, we CAN make the world a better place.