Many people don’t know that my very first article ever written was on politics. Today marks the twenty year anniversary since my first mass monologue was published and discussed (or derided, at least at the high school I attended). To be sure, it’s full of embarrassment and bad grammar, and has more twists than M. Night Shyamalan running a churro stand.
Without further ado, here’s the full article reproduced in digital form:
Warning: Real World May Be Dangerous To Your Health
Originally published by Savannah Morning News – Accent Teens Section – Column A: Making a Scene PDF FILE – 305KB
EDITOR’S NOTE: Stephen Van Dyke, 15, completed 10th grade at St. Andrews on the Marsh. He will be a junior there in the fall.
By Stephen Van Dyke
Thursday, July 28, 1994
In a society with fewer moral values than that of 20 years ago it can only be expected that our children will be influenced negatively. Or is it? Can we give our children the same instant gratification that they would receive from their own friends? Can we provide rules that would serve as the foundation of a warm, successful family environment? Is there a way in which our children may be urged forward, both academically and morally, without their resentment?
To all these inquiries, I answer in a solemn Maybe. Maybe we can put this world, in time for our children to enjoy it. Maybe our children will realize that in making the grade below average, they also mark themselves as below average. Maybe all the warring factions throughout our decrepit world will come to love each other in some sort of Agape kind of way and will throw down their uzis and such in disgust. Maybe
No, it could never happen, our world is too far gone for the mediocre aid that we could provide. No, I am mistaken yet once more, for it is no longer this bountiful Earth we must worry about blowing to a kabillion little bits; worry more about ourselves. This world will survive man’s foolish ideas, this has been the way of the world, and always will.
Wait, let us not forget all of the wonderful, enticing gifts that our world has to offer … er, ah … um, Chunnel and ah, the recent South African free elections. Aha! democracy, a great invention of man! Yet to look at all of these in comparison to the lives that we are now endowed, they seem so small, so insignificant. It is the fault of man, gazing down upon the beasts in triumph, pretending to rule them, not knowing that he is still one.
Thief, Murderer, take it all, hoard it into your empirical cities, consume it, then scar the land with your filth. Hypocrite! You say you want reduced emissions, yet you allow our politicians to drive gas-guzzling slugs to election rallies. Rallies in which over a thousand cancer sticks will be burnt, inhaled and discarded. Oh, the shame that man has brought upon himself, disaster is only around the bend.
No, I continue to overreact, the world is not such a swamp, full of terrible creatures. It is merely outside influences to whom we must lay blame. Prime time shows, portraying a man beaten to the point of unconciousness — of course the bad guy is caught, always is. Yet once the criminal is found, then what? Does the camera fade
in and depict this violent man being violated in a state penitentiary cell? Does the camera pan over the cell-blocks, full beyond capacity? Nothing is done to save ourselves, we are only marionettes upon tangled lines.
No, dear children, the world is an evil dangerous place indeed; that is why we must be wary of strangers; that is why Agape love is a dying breed; that us why … oh the list could go on forever. Yet now I am forced to depart upon a dreary note: the world should have come with an adequate warning label — something around the area of: Harmful If Ingested In Any Form!
I couldn’t say I disagree with what I wrote, in the slightest.
I’m hard pressed to give 15-year-old me a lot of flowery ablations considering I’ve grown more optimistic over my lengthening cycle of time, but I must concede that we’re only as good as our last article.
Considering this is now a navel-gazing article about an amazing article (or lyrics, chorus anyone?), I’ll depart on an optimistic note: I’m still practicing political punditry, and it’s still a random and dichotomous mix of Agape and nihilistic mockery that people can’t help but read.