Literacy and Liberty

Guiding Questions / Intro
Posted by: , November 18, 2018, 8:01 pm
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Guiding Questions:
– What was the role of the media during the Watergate era? How does that differ from the role of the media today?
– In a time where “fake news” is so relevant, would Woodward and Bernstein be able to accomplish what they had today?
– Are we again living in an era where we should be speculative of the government that leads our nation?
– With little trustworthy sources of information, how do we preserve the truth today?

Living in America during the era of Donald Trump has come to be accompanied with the term “fake news.” While this term in one sense is a title for Facebook clickbait that those unwilling to delve further mistake as truth, it is in another sense a tool thrown around by the executive administration to dissolve anything standing contrary to their success. The media is almost immediately dismissed. A question emerges of how dangerous this suppression is. Are the people losing their defense against potential corruption? Looking back at another era in which leadership was questionable, commonly known as the Watergate era, the role of the media is shown to be essential in the preservation of truth. Today, Woodward and Bernstein would be pushed away from accomplishing what they had. However, their role in the Watergate scandal of representing the people is the quintessence of what makes the media so important. To firmly understand why the American people must defend news outlets and push for the truth, one must reflect on the Watergate scandal and mirror the actions and motives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Something about cameras I think
Posted by: , November 14, 2018, 4:10 pm
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Note: This is not a good poem

Shutters close and open more quickly

Than my eyes do when they blink,

Taking in the image before the lens

And forcing it to stay there forever,


Shutters are pulled closed

When the forecast calls for rain

Stopping the storm

From causing any damage to the inside,


And my lens adjusts,

Focusing on what is left;

On what is permanent.

But the photo comes out blurry,

And I shutter when I see it,

Because someone left the negatives on the floor

And forgot to pull in the shutter

And the rain left an ink stain in the middle of the print,


Investigative Project
Posted by: , November 7, 2018, 12:15 pm
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On June 17, 1972, the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. was broken into by five burglars. In the spring of my sophomore year, the story of the Watergate scandal was unfolded before me, and with that, a newfound curiosity was formed. As time went by, a pile of books on the subject began to emerge and grow on my shelf, and a poster version of a photo of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein appeared on my bedroom wall. Watergate excites me because it is a perfect example of the preservation of truth. If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that truth is the solution to all things. If the truth is not universally understood in any situation, then that situation will never be balanced, and thus, never at peace. When truth is present, justice is enabled. For a conflict as national and damaging as Watergate, this was of utmost importance. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein knew this, and did what they had to do to grant that peace to the American people. I think that this preservation of truth is an eternal and vital focus. It is also a concept that is not prioritized in our country today. In the wake of “fake news”, what would happen if the Watergate scandal happened today? How has the process changed? 

77 years
Posted by: , October 8, 2018, 3:59 pm
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The memorial that I visited today was the World War II memorial in Old West. I stood for a few minutes and stared at this aging plaque on the wall, allowing my thoughts to roam.


Suddenly, I find myself propelled 77 years in the past. A daughter of Dickinson. I am standing in the same room. The stress of exams fades away. I am not thinking of any paper looming before me. I think of the names of the fallen that I come across daily. I think of the numbness that has begun to come with them. Around the world, people are fighting. An overwhelming amount of them are dying, too. In a few years, the names of my classmates who have lost their lives because of this dreadful, grotesque war will hang on this wall. I will always remember the times that I saw these people on campus. I will remember the laughs of the ones I knew well, recall their accomplishments and feats.

Back in 2018, the personalities of these names are stripped away. All they are now are words on this piece of metal that hundreds of us walk by daily, thinking nothing of it. We so often feel the stress of little things in life, but hardly ever take the time to imagine a time when those names were actually people.

But, I guess this is just simply the point of memorials. There’s more behind the metal, even 77 years later.

Harry Potter is REAL
Posted by: , September 21, 2018, 2:44 pm
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“It has to be real, Chris.” I screamed at my older cousin, who smirked at my innocence. “There’s no way those words were just her ideas. They’re too good.”

This was a real conversation that I remember having soon after I had learned to read. I caught on early to the “book thing”, reading two grades above my level as soon as I got to kindergarten. For this reason, I don’t necessarily remember the exact instance in which I learned to read. I do, however, remember the effect that it quickly had on me.

At the end of first grade, I dove in to the Harry Potter series. My mind, young and naive, became convinced that if words flowed together that well then they must entail reality. I was set on finding Hogwarts, and then, of course, attending. My older cousin Chris was one of many to shut down this notion, with no mercy.

With the realization that people could write as well as J.K. Rowling, I became obsessed with the idea of becoming that good, too. I used the skills that I had learned in kindergarten and first grade, and formed my letters into sentences similar to those that I read. I would write and write and write. I would force adjectives next to nouns and try to make them sound as beautiful as possible. In this way, I began my adventure of learning how to write. My reading and writing skills have built upon each other ever since.

Dear Pa,
Posted by: , September 4, 2018, 6:44 pm
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I have learned that sometimes the ones that we think are the strongest have a cracked foundation, as if they are skyscrapers awaiting their fate of crumbling into ruins.

My life as a child was a repetitive storyline with set characters. Every Sunday, my entire family ate dinner at my grandparents’ house. The head of the table was always occupied by the same character: the patriarch, my grandfather.

My grandfather’s strength was evident. However, he was hiding immense pain. When I was thirteen, he committed suicide. The storyline that I knew by heart was ripped in half, the head of the table suddenly empty. I became empty, too.

To cope, I turned to writing. I wrote letters to him, addressed “Dear Pa,”. I would express my grief, or tell him about my day. This lasted for two years, until I realized I was not getting better.

Instead of writing a letter one night, I read through the previous two years. I began to see that I was clinging to the loss that I had endured, not to my Pa himself. This realization was a turning point.

I no longer mull over my loss. Instead, I contemplate my grandfather’s successes, and reflect on his best moments. In this way, I use the strength that he had taught me. I live in a way that would make him proud. I am okay.

Skyscrapers fall, but that does not mean they weren’t at one point sturdy, and something is always rebuilt in their place.