The Need to Know

Happy New Year to all!

Among all the wishes we might have for good things to come in 2018, I’d like to wish for the further success and progress of PalawaNews. 2017 saw big moves forward in this newspaper, from a list of columnists expanded to include a young activist running a vibrant NGO, a fourteen year old writing about teen life and interests (and of course they leave the rest of us biting the dust behind them in social media), and an older person given to senior moments. There are several interesting new staff writers. Dempto Anda is giving the publication a lot of time and attention – and is the lead in the new Saturday morning talk show that is aired live on Facebook from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. every Saturday. Joy Tabuada is an inspired editor-in-chief.

Why is this newspaper important? It is our paper, local, and devoted to Palawan news, people, opinions. It is on line as well as in print, so you can follow developments quickly. It is a good defense against fake news, rumors, abusive social media. We need to know what is going on in our world, locally as well as nationally.

We need to hear what politicians and power brokers are actually saying, not just what some people think they heard. When we see decision makers being interviewed on the on-line talk show, we see first hand how they behave, how much seriousness they give to the problems of governing.

Democracy is in fact based on the idea of an educated and thinking electorate which has good solid sources of information. Of course our schools have a good long way to go in their formation of an educated and thinking electorate, but PalawaNews does provide much of the information needed.

And YOU NEED TO KNOW what is going on, even if you think you can’t do anything about it. I know it gets discouraging, as we are living in such dark times, and sometimes we all feel like we don’t want to see or hear any more – no more murders, no more scandals, no more petty quarrels. And we probably don’t need it all. But we need to know in general what is going on in our world.

These are dark times, but they are not unique in the history of the world. There have always been ruthless politicians, even dictators, and poverty has always been with us. In 1941 at the very beginning of World War 2, John Steinbeck theorized that evil does not die, is not eradicated, but can only be suppressed. It will keep rising up again and therefore we must always be willing to push it down again. It is unfortunate that it can never be absolutely ended but there it is. We can do something but not everything. And being vigilant is important.

I want to end on an optimistic note, of hope for the new year. Denise Levertov wrote a lovely poem For the New Year 1981 in which she says she has a small grain of hope, but it isn’t quite big enough, so she breaks off fragments and gives them to others, and this makes hope grow. Hope is like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower if they are too close together, but if they are separated out and spread around, they will all thrive and flower.

Happy New Year!



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