A note from the Editor…

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The end of the year is, once again, nearly upon us.

Around this time last year, many people were looking back on the events of 2016 with horror, proclaiming it to be one of the worst years in recent history and celebrating its end. With Syria, Brexit, the U.S. election and the deaths of numerous beloved celebrities, 2016 certainly had its flaws.

Unfortunately, much of what made 2016 bad wasn’t bound by our societal idea of a calendar year. In fact, it was only the beginning. Trump’s presidency has been every bit the floundering fiasco that most of us expected it to be, with almost weekly announcements of new missteps, dumb comments and awful policy initiatives.

With so much to process, it’s hard to blame those who have given up on following political events altogether. The protests of 2017’s early months had little effect on their targeted causes and, with our current administration, it can be very difficult to find ways to actually make a difference.

During times like these, I think it’s especially important to understand that changing the government isn’t the only way to make a difference. As the old saying goes: if you want something done right, do it yourself.

One of the most beautiful things about living as a human being in a free society is how easy it can be to help the other human beings who live around you. Whether you decide to donate to a larger cause or simply offer to do a favor for a friend, you’ve done something that will positively impact another person’s life.

We have so many opportunities, every day, to do small things that make the world a little better. So often, though, we’re stopped by apathy, laziness, mistrust, or even the doubt that our actions have any real effect at all.

“When people talk about traveling to the past, they worry about radically changing the present by doing something small, but barely anyone in the present really thinks that they can radically change the future by doing something small.”

I stumbled upon this gem of insight online the other day, reposted from the just-shower-thoughts Tumblr page. It woke up the little part of my brain that goes, “Whoa… that’s so true…” when someone makes a really good analogy, and that part of my brain then decided to hang on to it for future thought.

It is definitely odd that we look into the past and can see how a lot of small actions led up to a historical event or societal shift, and yet we can’t seem to comprehend that we might be part of something similar. Perhaps this lapse in logic can be attributed to the same part of our brains that can’t fathom the idea of infinity, or maybe it’s just another weird quirk of human nature.

Either way, the little things that we can do to help our fellow humans usually have a bigger effect than we realize, and it’s always worth taking a spare moment to think about what you can do.

This is my last editorial with Basement Medicine, as I’ll be taking my leave from the paper to focus on my other studies for my final semester here at Johnson. With that in mind, I wanted to end with something I truly believe: that a good attitude and a generous spirit are worth more than any amount of money (or at least most amounts of money). If you look at our current society and think, “Wow, human compassion sure is sparse out there,” remember that you can help to change that simply by being nice to someone.

Happy holidays, everyone. I hope you all have a great end of the year and the kind of beginning of 2018 that makes you excited to start a new year.

 

—Cayla Fronhofer, Editor-in-Chief

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