Hello again! To view the .pdf of the sixth and final issue of The NewsBreaker for which I am editor, please follow the link below.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am unable to offer any paper copies of this issue.
Below is my final “Words From Your Editor” commentary excerpted from the aforesaid issue.
Fare Thee Well!
2020 marks an era of unprecedented change for every facet and walk of life—the world, dare I say, is not what it once was six months ago, nor will it ever fully return to “normalcy” as we knew it back in the days of yore.
First coronavirus brings the whir of productivity and daily life to an eerie silence, and then recession as intransigent as the spot upon Lady Macbeth’s hand cripples the economy. On May 30, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken become the first humans to ride a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station and the first “American astronauts on American rockets” launched from “American soil” in over nine years. But juxtaposed with this monumental step forward for the future of space flight, George Floyd dies after Minneapolis police officers restrain him with excessive force, and protests and riots against racism engulf the world.
Watching the world literally burn while under quarantine as if we were living in some Sci-Fi dystopian reality is disappointing to say the least; however, we must not—against all temptation and media-exacerbated conflagrations—let what is disappointing become disheartening. As Thomas Paine remarked, “These are the times that try men’s [and women’s] souls;” out of the crucible of coronavirus and its infinite exacting derivatives that threaten our lives as we know them, a new world will emerge—one that I believe will be fundamentally better. Unfortunately for us as a species, we seem to see most of our large scale change only when faced with grave calamity—the evil of slavery was not purged in the United States until after the fledgling nation faced its most bloody conflict; monumental legislation extending the bona fide “we the people” to include all citizens of any creed, color, or sex was passed only after nationwide protests, demonstrations, and the assasination of a president; calls to action to extricate the gangrenous malady of racism thriving in the fertile soil of a society plagued by hate, malice, and corruption are brought only into the world’s limelight when an innocent man perishes at the hands—or rather knee—of the very people intended to secure our most basic rights to life, liberty, and property.
But it is at this fragile time in our history when you can turn your deeds into lasting change. Acts of kindness, love, and forgiveness are humanity’s panacea—you are thus capable of shaping the world into a more equal, just, and peaceful haven for all to enjoy, because you have the power to make a difference; you have the power to change a person’s life, and, therefore, you have the power to change the world. Perhaps we do not need calamity after all to achieve progress in significant issues and inequalities around the globe—if more people started standing up for what they believe in and coming together in a solidarity of unconditional love across every hue of the human rainbow, then, while our problems would not be liquidated in the mere blink of an eye, the world would certainly be an infinitely better place in every possible aspect.
As I leave PGHS, I desire to inspire—if in only a single person—a sense of indefatigable hope in spite of the chaos of the world, because though many might not recognize it, you shall never truly be defeated until you believe that you are. In J.R.R. Tolkein’s masterpiece The Hobbit (yes, I am a LOTR nerd), the character Bard stands alone, insignificant to the tyrannical dragon Smaug torching the city of Laketown and its innocent, unarmed denizens; unfazed, Bard stares down that monstrous Goliath and his deafening roar of fiery death and shoots his black arrow into the belly of that beast, slaying it and saving thousands of lives. While hopefully we will leave dragons to fiction, the idea captured by Tolkein of acting not solely for one’s own benefit, but for that of others is both inspiring and profound. Thought and action designed to enrich the common good as opposed to the individual good are what will ultimately save our species; a selfish, solipsistic attitude portends only further unnecessary suffering.
Above all, I urge you to remember that the world becomes noticeably smaller when we come together and recognize our myriad similarities than when we seclude ourselves in caves of ignorance; you can help the planet—without requiring the Bard’s exemplary courage—simply by choosing not to forsake the world. We humans are one family, and, like any family, successful functioning occurs only when each member is willing to compromise and forgive.
With that said, I bid adieu to PGHS and to all of my friends, teachers, and classmates. It was my absolute pleasure to serve as your editor during this year of twists and turns, and I am pleased to announce Caroline Coen as the editor of The NewsBreaker for next year. I will miss you all dearly, but as Mahatma Gandhi so eloquently wrote, “Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.”