"It's A Long Way To The Promised Land" by Bad Religion
written and interpreted by Kris Caballero (November 08, 2017)
Album Track Number
The New America
"It's A Long Way To The Promised Land"
May 9, 2000
Even if you're an optimist like me, you'll immediately judge this song as a bad influence. Next thing, you'll dismiss me as evil or atheistic—used in a way that's synonymous with being Satanic. See what closed-minded people I grew up with? And I haven't even started yet.
"It's a long way to the promised land so you'd better well know your way
There's a ship on the ocean and an albatross who is trying to lead you astray
Leaders, politicians, and power whores are in line to receive your choice
And you bet your ass, if you give it to them, they will gladly take your voice
And it's a long way to the promised land Wo-oh Oh oh oh"
Since most of you are already judging the title, being sung in the opening, what do they mean why it's a "long way to the Promised Land," which is a land of supreme happiness? The keyword there is happiness, and the assumption that it's a "long way," under the assumption that you've gotten this far but still feel unsure about the uncertainties of your own life and the decision(s) you made or have made, you likely haven't gotten to the state of "supreme happiness." You know how the phrase "Live life with no regrets" gets reiterated time and time again? That's because it's true.
The mention of "Leaders, politicians and power whores" are folks running their countries/cities/districts hearing what their people say, ending up "taking your voice." Ever wonder why the people in power and/or running the country almost, perhaps not at all, return the favor(s) to the people? Think about that, no matter how politically aware you are.
To that, I say: people in power, whether you voted for them or not, CANNOT and WILL NOT dictate what makes you happy, only YOU DO! Other folks, who haven't found their own happiness, will deter your path to happiness and will otherwise counter your goal(s) with bad advice, jealousy/envy and malicious slandering (I know this all too well). Ignore them, and the political, celebrity, and religious icons "trying to lead you astray." Just because they're popular and famous doesn't mean they're good, moral people.
"It's a long way to the promise land if we work we might find it here
There's no substitute for enlightenment; There's no reason for bridled fear
When you join the people who've joined the club, you gotta clench and play your hand
'cause if you fall in line you're gonna fall in time, and you'll never make a stand
It's a long way to the promise land Wo-oh oh oh oh"
Bad Religion's mention of "falling in line or you'll fall in time" gives the listener a representation of the Christian-imagery of lining up toward the Gates of Heaven, and the consequence of not finding your way could lead you to fall into a time trap where you may never come back in the waiting line again. Realistically, it applies the same: if there isn't a path in your life you're following, or at least creating for others and/or yourself, you'll "fall in time"—be at the time of your life when it's too late to do anything and unable to "take a stand," in creating and abiding by the truth in making yourself happy. "There's no reason for bridled fear" because, well, there really shouldn't be.
Serious question: Why are majority of the people so afraid of doing what makes them happy? Why are most of us scared of doing the right thing? People will judge/criticize you no matter what, so you might as well try. Just remind yourself that trying is not doing. Nevertheless, don't be bothered nor sucked in to what people on television are doing, how they look, false advices they share and what they represent. You're in this world for a reason, and only YOU can make it count.
"What are you going to do? When they call for you?
Bend and capitulate? Or keep your head on straight?
Easy answers bought without experience, gonna lead you to certain doom
Because the truth is just what you make of it, it begins and ends with you!
And it's a long way to the promise land Wo-oh oh oh oh"
One of my favorite line in this entire song, perhaps music in general, reads: "Because the truth is just what you make of it, it begins and ends with you!" Again, it brings me to that Christian imagery of getting your name called in Heaven, ready to have a "Life Review." Answers bought without experience, leading to certain doom, reminds me that if you lied about doing what you were supposed to do, but didn't actually do it, you're done; No one will save you from your egregious wreck of a confession and will live with that painful regret for eternity. Apply to real life here on Earth, you can say you accomplished something when in reality, you brought no contribution to it. Be real, be honest with yourself because no one else will back you up when your chance has arrived. Again, people in power and fellow friends might lead you to the wrong direction, so it's up to you to really charge through the blockades to get what it is you want, that makes you happy.
Although a short, simple song, Bad Religion tells us that being that it's "a long way" to supreme happiness—could be interpreted as world peace—you might as well just worry about yourself. Make the morally sound choices in your life, decide well and follow what your heart and soul tells you to do. It's almost existential, despite Bad Religion's pessimistic lyrics, but there isn't a lot of time left to find The Promised Land here, so come to terms with yourself and figure out your mark in society, what you hope to contribute to the good of everyone, but also, coming to terms to pursue what it is that make you happy deep down.
This song makes a lot of sense because, growing up, I never had the need to look up to a politician to make decisions for me and rely on them to make me happy. No, I figured what that was as early as 14 and am still here. For those of you who are still young and busy figuring it out, DO IT NOW AND FAST. Time is going very quickly and you won't have that opportunity to make it happen.