Calvert City, KY (January 5, 2021) – IT’s a new year and we have a January winner! Calvert City’s Youth Voice is a monthly writing contest developed for young authors between the age of 5 and 18. The first was the deadline for January and the winner is Skyler Ford of Reidland, Kentucky.

Calvert Area Development Association used a rubric judging system to choose the January winner. “We received 35 submissions and they were all wonderful,” said Blair Travis, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Business Development for Calvert City. Judges received the submissions with just the writings. They did not know how old the author was or where they were located.

Skyler Ford is in 8th grade at Reidland Middle School. He enjoys playing the piano, guitar, and singing. He is on the Varsity Academic Team, Huddle Leader for FCA, and class president of his 8th-grade class. He loves learning about politics and government. His favorite teacher is his mom, Stephanie Ford, because she inspires him to be his best self.

The next deadline for the monthly writing contest is February 1. Young writers are encouraged to submit original work in any style of creative writing. One winner will be awarded monthly.

Monthly winners will receive $50 and an ad in the Lake News with their published work. The deadline to submit work will be on the 1st of each month. This contest is not limited to Calvert City residents. We encourage writers from across the region to submit their original work.

For more information on Calvert City’s Youth Voice, please call City Hall at 270-395-7138 or by email at info@calvertcity.com.

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FROM THE HEART OF AN ENLIGHTENED EIGHTH GRADER
By: Skyler Ford

One of the greatest presidents in American history, Ronald Reagan, famously stated, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” It seems to me that he was referring to our citizen’s fear of authoritarianism in the United States as a possibility if we let the government interfere with our constitutional rights. When I first heard that quote, I thought it was preposterous. How could the government be bad or invasive? They would never invade our rights as humans. In fact, we elect our government because we trust them. However, after researching more about politics, I realized that authoritarianism is, in fact, a fear of many Americans. That being said, it’s impeccable that the United States does not fall down that dangerous path, and we must do our part as citizens to stay involved and educated in all aspects of our government, whether it be by city, county, state, or country.

First of all, authoritarian governments suppress basic human rights. Every one-party, an authoritarian government has suppressed or currently suppresses freedom of speech. For example, the most infamous one-party state, Nazi Germany, brutally silenced any form of speech against the government with their concentration camps. In addition, the Soviets were no better; up until the collapse of the USSR in 1991, all speech against communism, socialism, Lenin, or any remark against the ideals of the state were brutally put down with their harsh labor camps in Siberia called Gulags. Also, authoritarian governments are infamous for suppressing freedom of religion. At this very moment, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are being persecuted in “re-education centers” across China where they are forced into hard labor and converting to atheism. Maya Wang of the HRW (Human Rights Watch) claims that ”in Chinese authorities’ eyes, living the life of a Turkic Muslim is punishable. Their religious, linguistic, and cultural differences are deemed evidence of disloyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.” That’s just a current example of these atrocities. In the USSR, there was absolutely no freedom of religion, and citizens were only allowed to worship the state; any violations of this rule would, again, send you to the gulags. Finally, the atrocities committed by the Nazis to the Jewish population in WWII, in the span of just four years during Hitler’s tyrannical rule over Germany, managed to exterminate six million Jews from Europe in the worst holocaust mankind has ever seen. Yes, I know you are most likely thinking that there is no way this could happen to America, “The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.” It is normal for any American to think this way. However, instead of sitting back and not taking an active part in elections and having your opinions be known and heard could slowly but surely cause a fall of our nation. Therefore, we as American citizens must be aware and educated about every act performed by our government in order to keep our democracy alive and well. As a student who deeply cares about the future of America, I want to be sure to preserve our free, American way of life and do my part to ensure that we stay the democratic nation our forefathers meant for us to be.

Finally, Authoritarian nations have terrible economies, and we don’t want that for our future children and grandchildren. According to Nisha Bellinger, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boise State University, ”When a one-time democracy turns toward authoritarianism… the economic effect is often negative.” On its last leg, with the economy failing, the USSR decided that its best option was to, after 68 years, open back up to the Western World of capitalism and free markets. We know that this led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but even so, Russia is in a much better place than it was 29 years ago. Also, although the Nazi’s would love for you to believe that they experienced an economic boom in the late 1930s, what actually happened was that they forced people to work for the upcoming war, and they sent anyone who decided not to work to a concentration camp, classifying them as a “work-shy” (C.N. Trueman, 2015). According to a study by researchers of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Victoria University in Melbourne, “Strongmen (authoritarian leaders) mostly leave a country’s economy worse than they found it, or simply “ride the wave” of an economic growth that would have happened regardless of their rule.” This shows us that if any economic growth does happen under an authoritarian rule, it’s simply the consequence of the last leader of the nation, and it does not come from the new leader’s direct actions.

As you can see, authoritarian governments are clearly unfavorable for everybody and only directly benefit the ones in power. I can not stress enough how important it is that the U.S. never falls down this path in the future. If you had doubts at first as I did concerning Reagan’s quote, you can now surely see that he was absolutely right and that the best thing the government can do is to limit government control as much as possible. If we band together as a nation, I know we can stop this form of government from ever showing its face in the U. S. of A. It is still true- “United We Stand, Divided We Fall!”

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