2018 – 8th Grade National 2nd Place Winner
Chloe Creighton, Missouri.
George Orwell once wrote, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Deceit, the act of intentionally concealing or altering known fact, is woven through our everyday lives. From fake news popping up on our phone screens to a friend claiming they love our unflattering new hairstyle, we are oblivious to many lies that surround us. The truth, information that can be proven with science, mathematics, or historical record to be in accordance with reality, has the power to bring attention to these lies. Though it can be difficult to speak the truth, history shows that when people are willing to stand up against deception, their impact can change the world.
One significant example of this is the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Over the course of three months in 1969, Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst, photocopied classified documents detailing the extreme deception regarding the Vietnam War. He sent those documents to the New York Times, which published some of the papers and as a result was temporarily banned from revealing any more information. These papers fell into the possession of The Washington Post, and despite the large threat, the paper decided to expose the government’s deceit and publish the Pentagon Papers. Some of the information revealed by these newspapers was that the US was involved in the Vietnam War long before the public knew, and that the largest reason the US was continuing to fight in Vietnam was to avoid a humiliating American defeat. The American people were shocked to find that they had been misled. The truth about the war forever impacted how people view and feel towards the US government.
Truth has prevailed not only in historical events themselves, but also triumphs through the way our history is preserved. Museums protect the truth on a planet full of people who deceive. For example, there are people who claim that the Holocaust never happened. This belief is linked to anti-Semitism. Some dislike that Jewish people get attention from the tragedy, so they deny the existence of the event and their responsibility to acknowledge it. The effect of these lies is greatly lessened by museums, where the true history is guarded and displayed for the millions who visit. When people have a trustworthy source of information, the power of deceit is stripped away.
Unlike truth, the impact of deceit is not eternal. Truth allows us to bring to light deception. Although lies can temporarily keep us from seeing the whole picture, truth can pull back the curtain of deceit and reveal an image that lasts forever. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “When I despair, I remember that although history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always. “ Mahatma Gandhi
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