The Myth of the Moderate/by Morgan Thomas

In the divisive arena of American politics, the conversation often focuses on how “polarized” things have become. Op-eds and online blogs have proliferated the idea that America must turn away from “extremism on both sides.” But in this fairy-tale world of constant compromise and middle-ground, what is actually being lost?  

Recent years have seen the American political sphere shifting further and further to the right. The markets have been deregulated; taxes—for the wealthy—have been cut; laissez-faire capitalism has run rampant to the point where even the slightest hint of regulation or taxation has politicians branded as “Communists.” Upon these uneven scales, the political position of the “moderate” becomes especially insidious. 

One might well be wondering, I thought moderation was a good thing? Perhaps it is when you’re wondering whether to take a large slice of pie or stick to a smaller one, but in the political world, moderates are dependent on a shifting center. 

Let me put it in perspective: if the campus of Mississippi College is measured from the pods to Lowrey Hall, then Jennings Annex would be the campus center. On the actual map of campus, however, Jennings Annex is the educational building furthest to the right. From the perspective of someone at the pods, someone at Lowrey Hall is on the extreme left side of campus. It’s the same with the political spectrum. We’ve drifted so far to the right that someone whose platform is slightly left of center is painted as a “far-left radical.”

Part of the problem is that America is so incredibly insular that its citizens don’t even realize how different they are from the rest of the world. The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not have a system of universal healthcare. The readers of The Collegian might recognize this by its other name: Medicare For All, the “radical socialist” platform of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two of the heavy-hitters in the Democratic party. Even amongst members of the Democratic party, Medicare For All is a divisive subject and garners only limited support because they don’t want to appear “too extreme.” Oftentimes, what seems like extreme leftist policy in the United States has been par for the course in every other developed country. 

The purpose of this article is not to offend any self-proclaimed moderates but to raise awareness of what moderation truly means. As a moderate, you are dependent on the ideologies of others to define your own position. Many Americans claim to be moderates because they have an aversion to appearing “radical;” however, this aversion allows true extremists to set themselves up as a baseline for comparison. 

For example, after the Civil War, the United States implemented segregation under the guise of “Separate but Equal,” because slavery was outlawed. Obviously, this doctrine was anything but equal, but at the time, segregation was the moderate choice. On one side were the Confederates and allies who resented that Black Americans had been granted their freedom, and on the other side were the activists who lobbied for racial equality. The myth of moderation allowed for the continued oppression of Black Americans. 

So what can we do? I’m not exactly trying to tell everyone that they should self-identify as a socialist or as a leftist, but if you choose to define yourself as a moderate then you need to understand what it truly means. As a moderate, your political stance is dependent on that of others rather than based upon your own beliefs. You are not hot or cold, but simply lukewarm. 

We’ve probably all heard the sentence, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” but only rarely do we encounter the rest of Desmond Tutu’s quote: “If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” To be neutral—to be moderate—when far-right extremism has become the ground zero is to align yourself with the elephant by default. 

Mental Health Awareness is Human Awareness/by Kyle Hamrick

I used to think that people who struggled with mental health issues were weak, unable to cope with life’s often uncomfortable realities. My friend Ben, a senior psychology major from Tupelo, Mississippi, made me realize my assessment was unbelievably wrong.

On the contrary, people who struggle with mental health issues are the strongest people one might ever meet. Their struggle is not with themselves, but with a debilitating disease. 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an average of 40 million adults are affected by anxiety disorders, and only 36.9% of those with diagnosed anxiety disorders receive treatment. Furthermore, almost half of all people with anxiety disorders also experience depression, and vice versa.

Mental Health America revealed in their State of Mental Health in America 2021 report that 19% of American adults, roughly 47 million individuals, are experiencing a mental illness. In Mississippi, that figure is almost 19.5%, or 431,000 individuals. 

Imagine that these statistics are more than just numbers on a page. Imagine those statistical figures as human beings, with family, friends, jobs, hobbies, and dreams. They are just like you and me, and they deserve support not only from professionals, but from us, the people with whom they share their lives. 

My friend Ben was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder and experiences depression. He received this diagnosis in 2017, and to this day sees the same therapist he saw then. However, even after years of treatment and progress, his symptoms still attack him without warning. 

Ben’s experience with mental health issues and therapy inspired him to pursue a career as a licensed professional counselor. He will complete his bachelor’s in psychology in May, and plans to obtain a master’s in clinical mental health counseling after graduation.

Ben and I believe that mental health is an important and prevalent issue of which everyone should be aware. To that end, I prepared three questions and interviewed him for his perspective on mental health issues. 

Question 1: What do you wish people understood about mental health issues?

Ben: “First, that there is a very real stigma on mental health in our country. Everyone experiences mental health issues to some degree. The truth is that there are people that don’t just go through hard times every once in a while that cause heightened anxiety or depression that most humans face, but they are sick, depressed, anxious, and experiencing horrors every single day–right before you see them at the coffee shop, or right after you talk to them after class.

Think of mental health like a continuum, where on any given day you might fall in a different spot on the continuum, and you expect it to happen. It isn’t something they post about on social media or make a personality trait to share to the world and say, ‘Look at me!’ On the contrary, the individuals who are battling mental health are, more likely than not, someone who will never speak out about it until they receive the correct healing and help.”

Question 2: What advice would you give someone about maintaining good mental health?

Ben: “I would tell them that whether you have been able to take care of your mental health or are just starting to take the small steps necessary for healing, hold on to the fact that this journey is uniquely yours and not without hope.”

Question 3: How can someone help a friend who struggles with mental health issues?

Ben: “If you are worried about someone, it can be very hard to know how to help. But sitting back and contemplating how you should help wastes time while your friend is suffering.

Talking to someone is the first step to take when you know they are going through it. Find out what is troubling them, and ask how you can help. Trust me, they would rather you just be there and acknowledge that you care about them rather than say nothing, even if they seem reluctant for help. 

Don’t try to diagnose or guess how they are feeling. You’re (probably) not a medical expert or a counselor. Keep your questions open ended. Ask ‘Why don’t you tell me how you’re feeling?’ rather than ‘You are so sad,’ or ‘I could tell how depressed you were.’ Give them time to respond, and know that your mere acknowledgement and presence is a big step and helpful for them.

Listen carefully to what they tell you. If you know what they’re saying is very serious and life-threatening, get help immediately. If your friend is suicidal, contact 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255). It’s vital to encourage them to get help. If they have contemplated suicide but aren’t in danger at the moment, still find help as soon as possible.

Talk to them, and remind them how genuinely loved and valuable they are. Listen to them, but do not push them to share. Let them feel comfortable, and talk to them about possible counseling.”

MC offers free and confidential counseling to all students through the MC Counseling Center on Alumni Hall’s fourth floor. Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., students can schedule an appointment at 601-925-7790 or scds@mc.edu. For emergencies outside of regular hours, contact the on-call counselor at 601-925-3204. For more information and additional resources, go to https://www.mc.edu/offices/counseling/.

Flying Away From Extremism With Both Wings/by Kyle Hamrick

F. Scott Fitzgerald believed a good way to test one’s mind is to hold two opposite ideas before the other and try to continue functioning as normal. 

My mind, hopefully in a similar fashion, is occupied with two things: the recent vote not to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, and how this country can move forward from political extremism. Here are the facts, and the solution that follows from them. 

Trump made history as the first president to face impeachment twice; now, he has made history again as the first president to evade impeachment twice. 

Some may see that sentence as a credit to the man’s political record, that the indefatigable Trump has beaten the rap and won the day from the Washington establishment once again.

I, however, see nothing of which to be proud. How can a president be impeached twice in one year? Most importantly, how can a president whose rhetoric against our nation’s democratic election dripped with lies and incited individuals to attack our seat of government escape punishment for his actions?

With help from members of the Republican party, who seem to have no problem with populism and immoderation, Trump was not convicted by a two-thirds majority in the Senate, even though the final vote was 57-43 in favor of finding him guilty.

If seven Republicans had not crossed the aisle in favor of conviction, the vote would have been tied along party lines. I believe they were right in breaking with their party mandate to protect and defend the President of the United States, because they demonstrated they could survey the evidence presented before them and draw their own conclusions. If they had stuck with their party, the vote would have been a perfect (read flawed) polar split.

And that is the other problem. Nowadays it seems that the extremists on the left and the right have all the power, and the American people are trapped in a Newton’s cradle of political ideology that ricochets back and forth every election cycle. 

How can a nation founded “by the people, for the people” survive when it only hears perspectives from five percent of the population on the far left and five percent of the population on the far right?

We must run our government with a sense of moderation and of decency. We should certainly make stands for what is right, and we should never forget to consider all sides before we act.

We as a nation must reform together as citizens of a democratic republic, united around the things we have in common and acknowledging the things that make us different. We can only continue the mission we began with the ratification of our Constitution 232 years ago if we come together around the ideas which made us unique.

I fear that with all this talk about left and right wings we’ve forgotten about the bird in the middle. It is the bird, after all, that flaps the wings, that steers them the way it wants to go. Rather than assigning ourselves to either wing, why don’t we find a seat between the head and the heart. If we approached things with moderation, maybe we would avoid extremism of any feather, as long as we focus on the bird, and not the wings.

Some Pointers for a New Semester/by Kyle Hamrick

Though I hate to see it in print, perhaps the most needed winter break in college history is long gone. Replacing it is a new semester much like its predecessor. The only difference is its novelty, and that makes all the difference to me.

A new semester brings with it a new opportunity to learn, dream, and achieve. To that end, I have compiled here a brief list of things to keep in mind as we progress through Mississippi College and into the larger world. 

Though some of us are closer to the edge of the diving board than others, I believe these tips, gleaned from personal experience, are useful regardless of how many others one may have. May these nuggets be as filling and potent as those in Alumni Hall. 

Never think that you are locked into a path or program you declared as a freshman. I decided I’d rather be a writer and jumped out of the pre-legal track and into a journalism minor after my first semester, and I haven’t looked back since. I kept my history major because I enjoyed the subject. Always be on the lookout for new learning opportunities.

Instead, come into college and figure out what you are made to do. I know that sounds daunting and indiscernible, but it is totally possible if you follow the things you’re good at. College started out as and still is a place to find enlightenment; don’t be afraid to learn something new. Take those first three or four semesters of basic courses to figure out your interests.

Endeavor always to understand your neighbor. As you learn for your major, you should also expand your mind when it comes to your fellow humans. Everyone has a story, and it is always a story worth hearing. Let everyone you encounter challenge you to a greater sense of wisdom and empathy. And just be kind.

Never do assignments or study at the last minute. This is one I’m still mastering, but it makes a big difference accomplishing a little bit of a paper or study guide some days in advance. That way, the day before or the morning of a big test, all you have to do is read your notes. Sometimes this is hard when the semester gets in full swing, but try to spread your work out as much as possible.

Instead, try to treat your class schedule like an eight-to-five job, if possible. Accomplish what you can during the day and unwind at night. Go exercise in the mornings or afternoons to blow off steam, and make time to read a good book or watch something good on TV. Make self-care a priority whatever form it takes.

Never, under any circumstances, evaluate your prospective job market before you close your eyes at night. I did this over the summer and it only made my chest hurt.

Instead, research job possibilities in the morning after a nice, hot shower and with a strong, bracing cup of coffee. You really only need to do this when you’re my age, but sites like LinkedIn or Indeed should be read with your morning news. That way you’ll have all day to do something about it.

Find a way to keep track of your thoughts. I started writing in pocket notebooks after my first semester, and it is one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only do I have a place to reflect, but I also have a record of one of the most formative chapters of my life. I hope historians in the future will read them for an eyewitness account of 2020.

Get to know your professors; they’re here to help you. And don’t forget your friends; they’re here to keep life from getting too serious. Many of the relationships you make in college can last all your life. Your teachers have a wealth of experience, and your friends will keep you from having wealth through fun outings. 

If you subscribe to this advice, you might end up like me, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on who you are. I hope that this semester will rank among your best yet, and that you will leave it in May a better person than when you entered it in January.

Editorial: Looking Back, Looking Ahead/by Kyle Hamrick

As I realized last week that the term papers I usually submit in the middle of December are now due in the middle of November, I opened my calendar to scrawl out a plan for the semester’s premature end. Once I finished charting my course, the result resembling more of a conspiracy theorist’s chalkboard than an organized strategy for success, I decided to flip back to the opening pages of the leather-bound book, back to the start of the year 2020.

I bought the calendar in December 2019 as its predecessor ran out, and I copied my notes for the final month of the semester into the new book. I published the semester’s last Collegian on Tuesday, Dec. 3, and attended a formal in New Orleans the following weekend. The week after that I took four finals, and then went home for Christmas. 

January 2020 looks like the aftermath of a shotgun blast, with presentation topics, Collegian meetings, and other assignments due one after the other. February followed a similar scheme, only more hectic. I started to think about COVID-19 after the Pearl River unleashed its third highest flood in history around February 17. The ultimate irony is the headline of March 3’s Collegian, which read, “Coronavirus: Cause for Concern?”

Whoever said journalism is the rough draft of history is laughing right now.

The late spring and summer seemed much longer than four months. Every day felt like a year, and every minute felt like a day. The disappointment and depression that marked those long months will never be forgotten. There were good times that came from being home to be sure, but the overall sensation was one of longing and anxiety. We wondered what the future would hold, and if classes and jobs would resume. 

And though I would like for this to be an obituary for the year 2020, there are still 58 days standing between us and what we hope is a brighter new year. 2021 could be just as bad, even worse, or better than its predecessor. I do not know; no one knows.

Though it is easy to give in to fear and worry, I say we adopt a more optimistic perspective. We made it through a global pandemic, the destruction of a soaring economy, the narrowing of a wide job market, masks, online or socially distanced classes, riots and protests, a polarizing and hard-to-watch election, and murder hornets to name a few. As of right now, students of MC will return to campus next semester for on-campus classes. We can do this. We are strong, resilient, enterprising, endeavoring, daring, brave, and history will record this generation among the greats. 

This holiday season, I encourage you to eat enough, get some bigger britches, and rest, because the new year is coming whether we are ready or not. As Winston Churchill told the students of Harrow School in October 1941, “We have only to persevere to conquer.” 162 years earlier at the Battle of Flamborough Head, the American naval commander John Paul Jones famously said, “I have not yet begun to fight!” 

Time goes on, readers, so must we; and by the grace of God, we will. 

Editorial: “Every Day is Election Day”/by Kyle Hamrick

One might say it’s all been building up to this. This is the last editorial you will read from me before the Election of 2020. I make no pretense toward profundity; I want only to give my perspective. 

I am no oracle, but I believe the sun will rise and the world will continue to spin on Nov. 4 regardless of who this country elects. America will still be governed according to a constitution that guarantees and protects our ability to think and speak our minds. We have experienced 45 exchanges of political power in 244 years. We’ve endured many social maelstroms through the years, even a civil war. The country is divided now in a way that hasn’t been seen in a long time. No matter what happens on Nov. 3, what we as individuals do matters more than what the White House does.

This is not to say a vote doesn’t matter. A vote does matter. Our system would not exist without a vote. However, we vote for a president once every four years. Do we only get to speak one day out of 1,460 days? Absolutely not! We should be speaking up and speaking out every day of the year for our rights and the rights of our neighbors. Every day we should test the boundaries of the First Amendment. Every day we should be advocates for equity and justice. And the day we don’t is one step further away from the values expressed in our founding documents. Every day is election day.

Democracy is a daily exercise in thought and discussion. It’s forming an opinion and running it by a friend or someone whose perspective you don’t know. It’s disagreeing with grace, and explaining why an opinion needs reworking. If democracy is a government by the people, then its processes should reflect the mental development of a person. We learn things and change our behaviors. We grow in maturity and wisdom. Our elected officials should represent this, and should not pander to our passions or vices.

If you read this far to find the perfect candidate, then please accept my apologies. I can’t tell you who to vote for; that is not up to me. But I can give you a few prompts to guide your decision. 

Vote for the person you think will best serve this country. 

Vote for the person you think will best improve the sorry state of conversations. 

Vote for the rights of the downtrodden, and amplify the voice of the minority.

Vote for someone who will protect the freedom of speech, our right to protest, and our ability to speak our minds.

Vote for someone who knows the sins of our history and has a plan to heal old wounds.

Vote for someone who wants to take the country forward, who is for progress and development.

Vote for who you want to vote for, because I don’t know who that is.

Once you’ve voted, prepare to be a gracious winner and a gracious loser, and regardless of the results, treat each other with decency and respect.The election will anger some and please others, but our rights do not end at the feet of a president. No matter who wins, we can and will still speak our minds.

Every day is election day. 

Editorial: America is on the Brink of the Rubicon/by Kyle Hamrick

When I sat down in March and made my schedule for the fall semester, it did not occur to me that I would study the history of Ancient Rome during an election year. I blame it on the lockdown that I did not notice the gears of our republic groaning to life for another season of mud-slinging. 

HIS 304, better known as Ancient Rome, is one of my most favorite history classes I have taken as a history major at MC. Before the midterm on Oct. 5, we covered the construction and decline of the Roman republic. The details and stories of Rome’s history were interesting themselves, but much more interesting is how similar Rome in the final century of the republic is to the current climate of the United States of America. 

“O tempora! O mores!” as Cicero said. How similar the times and values of Rome are to those of America! The following are merely three critical examples of the similarity between America and Rome. 

First, the Roman senate was composed of old men with long careers in politics. One needed only run for a minor magistracy, and he would be made a senator for life. A largely aristocratic and patrician body, the senate was the pinnacle of Roman paternalism. In the American senate, women join the men as representatives for states, but that is really the only difference. Many senators in America today have been in office for decades. Bloomberg reported the average age of the American senate this year is 62. 

Second, the Roman virtue of pietas commanded Romans to put the needs of their family, their community, and their country above their own needs. Horatius Cocles was a farmer who took up arms against invaders in 508 B.C., faced the enemy on the bridge into Rome, and defended the city from attack. For centuries, Horatius stood as the embodiment of pietas, of doing one’s duty for Rome. Much later, around the 130s B.C., the definition of pietas changed. Generals like Sulla, Marius, and Caesar commanded absolute loyalty from their soldiers, even giving them money and land in exchange for dutiful service. By the end of the republic in 27 B.C., pietas meant nothing more than being unquestionably loyal to one’s superior. 

In the 1960s, President Kennedy appealed to Americans to ask what they can do for their country, not what their country can do for them. That phrase has been inverted today, as Americans divide themselves into political factions. The benefits are different, but the motivation is the same. Surrender your vote, your hope to a certain party, and everything will be perfect. 

Third, though we do not throw people to lions for amusement as the Romans did, America has erected its own colosseum theater on social media. Those who disagree with the popular opinion are ripped apart on Twitter and ostracized from society. While the judgment against a person’s opinion may be right, people today do not stop and tell the offender why their opinion needs reevaluation. Entertainment has trumped understanding. The act of proscription, or the sanctioned killing of one’s political enemies, silenced minds like Cicero and Cato who spoke out against the radical changes that were killing the republic. 

This country of youth is governed by the old. This country is divided into political factions and seems incapable of working together. This country does not know how to communicate with each other, nor how to correct ideas with wisdom and grace. Whatever the outcome of this election, we must restore political discourse, the free exchange of ideas, before it is too late to turn back, before our toes meet the waters of our own Rubicon.

Editorial: One History, Under Trump/by Kyle Hamrick

“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant, Success in Circuit lies.” This line by Emily Dickinson seems particularly fitting in light of President Trump’s forthcoming executive order: an initiative for “patriotic education” to teach American school children to love their country unconditionally. At a conference given inside the National Archives Museum on Sept. 17, Trump said, “We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms, and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country.” In summation, Trump wants a flag in every hand, and a book in every can.

Trump wants public schools to focus on 1776 and the Declaration of Independence rather than 1896 and Plessy v. Ferguson. Students would be required to know George Washington rather than the enslaved people whose teeth made his dentures. Trump might test children on Squanto and the first Thanksgiving, while disregarding the Trail of Tears. Trump wants to pick and choose scenes from our history as if he were picking the perfect apple from the barrel, throwing out the rotten and saving the glorious.

While I think it is important for people of any nationality to take some measure of pride in their homeland, teaching innocent school children a sanitized version of history deprives them of the truth, instills the vices of nationalism and fascism, and will ultimately prevent the people of this country from moving forward together. 

What Trump does not seem to realize is that a story has good and bad elements to its narrative. The same is true for history. History is the story of a people with noteworthy events from their collective life. History, written well, should show a reader where they came from, and grant them insight into themselves and the human condition. We should learn and read history to know who we really are, not who we imagine we are. By reading America’s history and learning the high and low points, American students should emerge from the past with a better knowledge of themselves for the present and the future. 

Rather than fund some “patriot” “education” bill, American funds would be better spent on a wide collection of history books written from a variety of viewpoints. If America is indeed the great melting pot we have been taught to believe it is, then why not adopt a similar approach to our education? Give me your Eric Foner, your Howard Zinn, your Mary Frances Berry,  your writing historians yearning for royalties. We need the good and the bad to get the full picture, the whole truth and nothing but. 

When education elevates one voice over another, learning for the sake of enlightenment and understanding has ceased. That voice should always be one of truth and fact, but beware when it is not. When that voice declares superlatives, when it decrees one country is better than another as a fact of nature, and when it fails to consider the experiences of others in its discourse, it aims to teach a lesson of singularity, superiority, and domination. That is how nationalism is born, and how nationalism matures into fascism. This country fought in two world wars against nationalism and fascism, and here we are poised to go down the same track as our old adversaries.

 As Plato asserted, acquiring knowledge is a painful and irrevocable process. Oscar Wilde said that ignorance is a delicate fruit that, once touched, dies. Therefore, one should close a history book with more knowledge, more understanding than when one opened it. Learning should come from a variety of sources, with attention to how things really were, and emphasize the human experience. An education in history should teach American children that despite all the hardship and pain that exists in our past, the future can be better and brighter for everyone.

A Flag for the Future/by Kyle Hamrick

By: Kyle Hamrick

The first petition I ever signed was to remove the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag. A friend posted a link on Facebook, and I ascribed my virtual signature in support. At last, I thought, Mississippi can finally let its wretched past be past. 

In June, the 1894 Mississippi flag slid down the pole at the state capitol never to rise again. It bore the Confederate battle flag in its top left corner, the last state flag in the United States to do so. After 126 years, and scores of protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the flag and its racist symbolism came down, and the search was on to find a new one.

In November, the people of Mississippi will have a chance to vote for a new state flag. They will choose to either accept the proposal of the governor’s flag search commission, or tell the commission to keep looking. Because Mississippi needs to move on into the future and because Mississippi needs a flag to represent its people, I suggest Mississippians should vote to accept the proposed flag as it is. I would vote myself, but I am from Alabama; therefore, I will leave the task to you.

On the proposed banner, 20 white stars surround a magnolia in bloom against a dark blue background bordered by red and gold columns. The stars represent Mississippi as the 20th state to join the Union. A golden star hangs above the magnolia and represents Mississippi’s Choctaw people. 

Mississippi is called “The Magnolia State,” so it is fitting an official flag for this state should bear one. Mississippi was the 20th state to join the United States in 1817, and our national flag has a star for every state, so that symbolism works as well. In my opinion, everything about the proposed banner checks out. 

I only object to the inclusion of the phrase, “In God We Trust.” To say that every Mississippian trusts in God is the same as saying every Mississippian wears his or her mask in public. My trust is in God, but I don’t speak for everyone – and neither should the governor. 

Nevertheless, this flag is Mississippi’s best option. Mississippi must be allowed to move on from its status as a slave-holding state, a rebel state, and a segregationist state. Adopting the proposed flag as the official state flag in November is the first step of a long journey toward true reconciliation. 

This does not mean that racism will cease to exist, that eyes previously blind to the reality of the Old South will open and see truth. This does not mean that Mississippi will be unified in an instant, that new people and new commerce will flood this state over a few days. But if that magnolia flag climbs up the silver pole in Jackson, catches the wind for the first time, and unfurls over the people it was made to represent, I believe it will be a lot easier to live in its shadow. Maybe then Mississippi will be ready to leave the past behind and boldly embrace what the future holds.

On Wearing Masks/by Kyle Hamrick, Editor in Chief

COVID-19 has made a permanent mark on us. We will forever remember the last six months for the changes wrought on our lives. Nevertheless, the pandemic is not over; there is still much we have to do before we can put this virus behind us. One of those things is wearing a mask and social distancing in public. Here are a few reasons why you should wear a mask on campus. 

First, the campus administration has deemed it necessary to wear a mask so that MC can work its way back to normal operation. I am not alone when I write that I want to stay on this campus for as long as I can. As a senior teetering on the edge of the metaphorical nest, I want to savor every moment this place has to offer. If I am to pay for the full college experience, I expect to receive the full college experience; and right now, the key to achieving the full college experience is shaped like a protective mask. 

So wear your mask!

Second, you are not invincible and neither is your neighbor. I understand that most of us are in the primes of our lives, the golden days upon which we will look back and sigh, but notice that I did not write “all.” I wrote “most” because there are some people our age who have certain chronic health conditions that require certain protections to keep on living. You do not know what you might be spreading, and you do not know to whom you might be spreading it. You might breathe on somebody who has to run home between classes and check on an immunocompromised relative. You might breathe on somebody who has cystic fibrosis, for whom a common cold could turn into an ordeal. These are just examples, but the point of this is, you do not know how your actions will impact somebody else.

So wear your mask!

The third reason you should wear a mask is because college is not high school. It might feel like it sometimes, with all the cliques and politics and hooplah, but in reality there is a difference. People are trying to form their futures here. People are trying to find out who they are and what they are meant to do here. 

I’m trying to make a career as a freelance writer for a local paper. Someone else is trying to become a nurse, and would much rather learn their noble craft on a real person in a hospital rather than a stuffed animal via Zoom chat. Another person is trying to become an entrepreneur, and needs to be in the Clinton area to get their dream business started.

The list goes on, and on, and on. The point is, MC students need to be at MC. There are many good things about online learning, but it can never compare to learning in a traditional classroom where you can ask a question in real time. Characters and minds and careers are best made in person, in an MC classroom, in the MC community.

So wear your mask!

It is incumbent upon all of us to wear our masks and keep each other accountable. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, to look after each other and “the least of these,” and to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” The time has come to be selfless, not selfish.  

So wear your mask!