Images of Peace in our World

Melissa Wright

 

I remember about four years ago lying in my extra-long twin sized bed trying to fall asleep, roughly around 11:00 p.m. I was trying to get an early night in before a big test, but all I heard was noise. There was a group of very loud students who liked to congregate just outside my door in the Upper-Class wing of Parson’s Hall. I could hear sirens, traffic and people who were walking by. I could hear the shower going and the toilet flushing as my suite-mate readied herself for bed.

 

Lying there, listening to the noise of the world, it was difficult to find a space for rest.

 

The noise of the world isn’t just that which is immediately auditory. There is noise in our national and international politics. There is noise in the pollution of our environment, the abuse of our rainforests, the plastics in our oceans. There is noise in the discrimination of our neighbors, the trafficking of our children and the hunger in our homes. The noise around homelessness in Olympia has been very loud lately.

 

But, there is also noise in our own hearts. The noise that screams when we aren’t doing what we are meant to be doing, that echoes when our bills are higher than our paychecks, that aches when someone we love is hurting.

 

All of this noise steals our attention away from the things in life that are quieter, and just because they are quieter does not mean they do not deserve our attention.

To hear the things that are quiet, we must quiet ourselves. We have to pause and take a moment to notice them and to appreciate their beauty and abundance.

 

The Sisters at St. Placid Priory want to facilitate this experience by hosting an art show. Images hold power to reveal, to remind, and to move people’s hearts.  We at St. Placid Priory are aware that the world, always in need of more peace, already provides many places, peoples, and situations that are at peace. Our vision for the art show is to bring forth images of this peace, revealing beauty and hope, and reminding us that there is peace right now in our world.

 

The Third Annual Images of Peace Art Show and Sale will be held on May 3-4, 2019. Friday night from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. we will have a Gala event. Those 21 and older are invited to view art, buy art, and enjoy hors devours and refreshments. Tickets are $15 per person. Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. will be a free open house for everyone. Proceeds will be shared with the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle, a collaboration of several Pacific Northwest religious communities.

 

So please, enjoy a break from the noise of the world to come and celebrate peace with us! St. Placid Priory is just a couple blocks down College Street.

 

St. Placid Priory

500 College Street NE

Lacey, WA 98516

360-438-1771

http://www.stplacid.org

Do your part to end world hunger

Emily Baca and Jalyn Boado

Consider this: nearly half of all child deaths worldwide are linked to malnutrition. Hunger and malnutrition are problems that cross many global borders. It is an issue that affects some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, such as women, children, farmers, and those experiencing poverty. The issue of hunger is something that is expansive, as it extends to problems including food availability, insecurity, malnutrition, and developmental issues. It is widely recognized that hunger is a problem that affects a vast number of the world’s population. There are extreme amounts of work to be put in to help solve this problem. 
The Catholic Relief Service ambassadors at Saint Martin’s University have partnered with an ambitious organization called Bread for the World. They have a goal to end world hunger by 2030 through implementing policy changes. Bread for the World wants to take a bipartisan approach, an approach that crosses party lines to advance global nutrition. One of the campaigns that Bread for the World is currently taking up is a Congressional letter-writing campaign to increase funding in the U.S. federal budget. The choices that our government makes affect how much food is put on a family’s table. 
To help combat the plight that so many of our global brothers and sisters face with hardships related to world hunger, we invite the entire campus community to join us in our Lenten journey. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) leads the Rice Bowl Program to assist in an essential pillar of Lent: almsgiving. A simple cardboard box is provided and serves as a tool for collecting Lenten alms. The Rice Bowl also comes with a Lenten calendar that guides individuals through the 40 days of Lent with activities, reflections, and stories. By participating in the calendar activities provided, our campus community also has the opportunity to be united through the other two pillars of Lent: prayer and fasting. One of the calendar activities that we would like to highlight is a movie night that we are hosting, where we will show the film “A Place at the Table” to provide a deeper understanding of world hunger and the issues that surround it. At this CRS event, we will launch our campus’ contribution to Bread for the World’s letter-writing campaign with a goal of 50 letters to be sent in. This event is to take place on March 22. Location and time are to be determined. Please consider attending this event, and help us do our part to end world hunger. 

The media’s double standards on race and party affiliation

Chelsea Mancilla, Guest Writer

 

Recently, Virginia politics have been thrown into chaos. Democrats, including Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, have confessed to using blackface in their youth. Initially, the scandal had surrounded Governor Northam, when a picture from his medical school’s yearbook became available to the public. In addition to this, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault. The Democratic leadership, the public, and the citizens of Virginia, have demanded their resignations, but the Democratic leadership has realized that if all three men were to resign, Republican Speaker of the House Marvin “Kirk” Cox would become governor. Their partisanship shows through as they think “certainly this can’t happen!” There is a discussion going on right now: shall we pretend this never happened? Or hand the governorship to the Republicans?

During these events, I heard on NPR that people believe there is a double standard. Likewise, Domenico Montanaro succinctly stated in his article, “Democrats see a double standard in the Trump era. They point out that Northam and Al Franken before him had to go (Franken for sexual misconduct allegations), but Trump, Iowa Rep. Steve King (who questioned how the terms white nationalist and white supremacist became offensive) and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (who landed in hot water over her own past racially tinged remarks) got to stay.”

First, no matter how racist or sexist these figures may be, only their own resignation can remove them from office. Unless they commit a crime, they can stay in office until their term is finished. Second, these individuals do not represent their political party or ideology as a whole. You cannot judge a football team based on the actions of a single player. Individuals should be held accountable for their own actions.

The media’s logic is simple: We expect all Republicans to be bad, but when a Democrat says or does the wrong thing, then we have to denounce them as the black sheep as loudly as possible. Isn’t it possible that a Democrat is just as likely to be a racist as a Republican is? We’re all human. We shouldn’t assume a black or Hispanic kid is going to shoplift, but we do assume a Republican is automatically racist? What’s the deal with that? When did some people become “bad people,” because of their political beliefs? We are taught not to assume that people are bad because of the color of their skin, but it’s considered okay if someone is bad because of their political ideology?

The media perpetuates the idea that the GOP is the enemy. If you’re not with us (the Democrats), then you’re against us. If you’re against us, you’re probably a racist or a Republican, or likely both. If you type in a search engine the term “GOP representatives,” the instant results include “Families are being ‘crushed’ by Republican leadership,” “The GOP’s Lonely Heartless Club,” and “A Victim of Gun Violence and GOP Party Leaders.” Whereas, when you look up the words, “Democrat representatives,” the titles are “Democrat solidarity stands out at State of the Union,” and, “Nevada’s Democratic representatives skeptical of Trump’s unity message in State of the Union.” People are either the evil supporters or the victims of the sinful Republican, and the Democrats are here to save the day.

The general public is willing to participate in the same dialogue which demonizes the GOP. It’s called conforming. When you conform, no one can call you out for dissenting and you can’t become an enemy of the majority. When you conform, you’re in a safe bubble, but suddenly there’s an “us” in the bubble, and there’s a “them” outside of it. As social animals, we have the adience to be part of the majority. It’s easier to agree than it is to oppose. Our country has transformed into an ideological echo chamber, and many are part of the “silent majority,” of people who are too afraid to object to it.

In an op-ed by Senator Tim Scott about Rep. Steve King, the Senator stated that, “When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole.” He added later, “Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said. Immigration is the perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against brown and black people.” Other Republican representatives shared this sentiment and publicly condemned Rep. Steve King.

While I was researching minorities in the Republican leadership, an article by CNN claimed “Black Republicans often make an unspoken bargain with their party: Don’t talk about race/racism, and when and if you do, make it about Democrats and liberals.” CNN goes so far to say Sen. Scott has “evolved” when he chastised Rep. Steve King. Minorities in the GOP are accused of not talking about race and not calling out their peers for racism. The media is making the unfortunate mistake of emphasizing race over a person’s character and beliefs. Individuals all have the capacity to be proud of their cultural and ethnic heritage, but that’s not what’s in question. The media is assuming that minorities in the Republican Party are not talking about race enough because it would disrupt the Republican ecosystem. A person’s identity should be about more than the color of their skin.

FiveThirtyEight looked at a variety of questions on negative racial attitudes from the General Social Survey, which has been conducted periodically since 1972. FiveThirtyEight writers Nate Silver and Allison McCann looked at the numbers for white Democrats and white Republicans specifically, based on the way Americans identified themselves in the survey. According to the results, as of 2012, 27 percent of white Republicans and 19 percent of white Democrats held negative racial attitudes. So, there’s a partisan gap, although not as large of one as some political commentators might assert.

The Republican Party has been branded as racist and corrupt. The fact that a majority of Republicans are white older men has become the circumstantial reasoning to accuse them of being racist and sexist. People are assuming they are promoting white supremacy and misogyny if they aren’t women or people of color. Mia Love, Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Tim Scott are considered the strange minority who became Republicans, and are a “sign of progress” in the Republican Party. In an op-ed from the New York Times, it was said, “Mia Love was supposed to be the future. She was really an anomaly.” The media treats ethnic Republicans as rare white elephants, something to be revered and yet pitied at the same time.

This is why it might surprise you to hear that Republicans are by far the more diverse party when it comes to statewide elected officials, such as senators and governors. The old stereotypes don’t hold when looking at the facts — Republicans have been quietly making inroads into communities of color, even if that hasn’t yet registered in overall voting patterns. And rising Republican stars such as Rubio, Jindal, Sandoval, Scott, Haley, Cruz, and Martinez are reasons for optimism as we look toward the future of American politics.

We’re always assuming Republicans are corrupt and racist, while Democrats are the world’s advocates. What if for a moment, we actually believed that both could be our advocates? What if we tried to cut through the stereotypes perpetuated by the media? What if we all have the same goal, but we believe there are different ways to reach that goal? Well, Republicans and Democrats believe their way is the right way, but in the end, they want America to be the best it can be.

 

Trump Address on government shutdown

Katherine Pecora, Staff Writer

 

On Tuesday, Jan. 18, President Donald J. Trump addressed the country about the ongoing government shutdown. As with most speeches this president makes, it is up to the public, aided by the media, to fact check what he has said. The trend for him to make misleading or simply untrue statements is unlike the country has ever seen.

“The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.” This is a lie. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in funding for border security measures such as enhanced surveillance. Democrats have refused to support a wall that Trump often touted in campaign speeches for a variety of reasons. One of the primary reasons is the racist connotation to the wall. The partial government shutdown began in December, when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate. The Senate unanimously passed a bill that would have kept the government open, but did not fund Trump’s wall. Due to criticism from the far right, Trump decided not to support the senate bill. Trump even stated that he was “proud to shut down the government” and vowed he would not blame democrats for it.

“Senator Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from later tonight, has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with other Democrats.” This is a misleading statement. According to the New York Times, in 2006 Sen. Schumer and 26 senate Democrats voted to authorize about 700 miles of fencing along the southwest border. Most Americans agree that border security is an important issue, again the opposition to the current “wall” is the racial connotations.

“America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation, but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.” This statement is misleading. Many economists argue that immigrants are in many ways the glue that holds our workforce together. Specifically looking at Washington State, many immigrants, documented and undocumented, work in the eastern part of the state harvesting fruit seasonally. This is grueling work that American citizens, and more specifically Washington state workers, do not take.

“The wall will also be paid for, indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.” This is a lie. The revised North American Free Trade Agreement now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has not yet passed congress. If this agreement is to pass, the benefits from this will likely be in the form of lower tariffs for American companies or higher wages for workers. During the campaign, Trump often touted that Mexico would pay for the wall.

“One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.” This statement is misleading. The trek to the U.S. southern border is notably dangerous. According to Doctors Without Borders, “68.3 percent of migrants and refugees entering Mexico reported being the victims of violence during their transit towards the US.” Nearly one third of these women said they have been sexually abused, and this is a large reason that women have chosen to travel in caravans. In this statement, Trump has overlooked the sexual abuse and violence that leads women to leave their native country and travel to the U.S. Conflating traditional immigration and refugee status overlooks the very real issues that disproportionately affect women who seek asylum or refugee status. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: “Refugees are generally people outside of their country who are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm.”

 

Another stark reality is that southern border apprehensions have fallen since 2000. The graphic from U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows the numbers of apprehension in fiscal years.

“Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.” This is a lie. In America, you are more likely to be murdered by an American citizen than an undocumented immigrant. To suggest or believe otherwise is to spread or believe a lie. Undocumented immigrants make up roughly 3 percent of the population for Trump’s statement to be true it would mean that 3 percent of the population was responsible for just under a quarter of all homicides between 2002 and 2016. In contrast, murders committed by white supremacists more than doubled in 2017, far right radicals were responsible for 20 out of the 34 extremist murders in 2017 according to the Anti-Defamation League. Much of this is due to the fact that white supremacists are emboldened and this is often tied to statements and actions taken by the president. Last May, Trump quietly cut $10 million ($7.7m) in funding to groups which fight right-wing extremism in the US.

So, in the grand scheme of things why does this matter? People who believe and spread this information are spreading lies or misleading information. Looking strictly at the numbers immigration is not at historic highs, and to suggest otherwise is a lie. All this being said, border security is an important issue and our House and Senate are adept to handle the issue. America is a country based on immigration, without it we would not be where we are today. The president is making a mountain out of a molehill while spreading false and misleading information.

Bon App or Bon Crap?

Extremely dissatisfied guest writer

 

 This semester, tensions between Bon Appetit workers and resident students have grown increasingly hostile. With a new influx of workers, the policies for meal plan usage have become a serious gray zone.

 Resident students eating meals that allow the use of a meal credit are entitled to an “all you care to eat” dining experience, per the Saint Martin’s website explanation of how to use a meal credit. Students eating their meal in the caf are understandably upset when they have leftover food and are denied a box. No restaurant will deny you a container to take your leftover food in with the argument “you’re stealing food that you did not pay for.” In fact, students have paid for their food using their meal credit. If you choose to take your food to go, you are forced to use flex cash and pay full price for your half eaten meal, that you have already paid for using the meal credit.

 Bon Appetit workers have become increasingly rude regarding the policies, being short and speaking to confused residents with a demeaning tone. A senior student said “Some of the employees are notoriously difficult to deal with, not wanting to assist us, as our tuition pays them too.”

 Students who have spoken against this “new” policy, and questioned to see it in writing have been seemingly exiled from the Caf and are fearful to return. Bon App employees will follow them, ask to see their receipt with proof of payment, and send judgmental glares to students upon choosing their food. How are students supposed to have a positive dining experience when the very people running the Caf are the ones that are creating a negative environment?

 Students have expressed their confusion with the policy due to different employees telling them different rules, and some being more lenient than others. After enough question about the policy, Bon App displayed a written policy that reads “to-go boxes are not available for usage in the cafe for leftovers.” However, when students bring their own container to take their food, they are told that it is theft and asked to throw away their remaining food. With their policy stating “in an effort to create a more sustainable environment,” and the Caf no longer composting, these situations are a paradox.

 Students who bring their own to-go containers for food are also told they cannot use them due to concerns of cross contamination. Echoing the Belltower article published last fall regarding food allergies and Bon Appetit, it seems that the Caf cross contaminates many of their food choices. This fear of allergic reaction causes many students with food allergies to strictly avoid the caf, and even as resident students, buy groceries so they know their food is safe.

 Students unable to enjoy three meals a day due to food allergies are not alone in their cafe worries. Students have been expressing greater concern for the cleanliness of dishes as they dine. Often times the metal silverware available is coated in a sticky residue or covered in water spots.

If the cafe is really trying to be more sustainable, they should allow for students to bring their own containers, silverware, and reusable coffee cups. Sustainability would also allow for the taking home of leftover food to be eaten rather than scraped into the garbage can.

But maybe that’s why students refer to Bon App as Bon Crap.

National suicide awareness month

Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer

 

September is National Suicide Awareness Month. This year, Suicide Awareness Week was Sept. 9 through Sept. 15. During that week here at Saint Martin’s, there was a Suicide Prevention Panel and numerous posters on suicide awareness and explaining what to do if you need help, but it is all taken down when the next day of awareness comes along. How is this really educating our community when people are just going to forget about it because it did not apply to them? Or brush it away when the next thing comes along? I realize that it is not ideal and would get a little bit repetitive to see or say something every day about the subject, but that small step of repetitiveness is what saves lives. Yes, an observed week to raise awareness for a touchy subject is great, but what we really need is to recognize, educate, and minimize suicide by speaking openly about it whenever possible. In order to save lives and raise awareness, we must take it upon ourselves to think of others and what they are going through and to educate ourselves to better our community.

Amanda Chappell, a senior at Saint Martin’s, and a mental health advocate, provided her thoughts on the subject, “From a personal standpoint, this subject is very important to me. There is this intense stigma that surrounds mental illness and suicide, which causes many to not open up about their issues. I speak freely about my past because I want others to understand that it is totally okay to talk about. There is nothing wrong, or sinful, about having inner demons – it’s literally just a chemical imbalance in your brain. In order to normalize these illnesses and help people understand what they are dealing with internally, we have to consistently advocate that a mental disorder is just as significant as a broken arm. While that may seem like a reach to some, it’s important to realize that until you have experienced extreme paranoia, or a depressive episode that lasts two days, you cannot say that these illnesses are not relevant enough to be treated. If we don’t share our stories of progression, how are others who are out there struggling going to realize that it can be manageable? Being a two-time suicide survivor myself, I will be the first to admit that it doesn’t get easier, you just learn how to reprogram your mind in those dark times to see the light that keeps you alive.”

According to Yahoo News, “Three out of four college students say they’re stressed and many report suicidal thoughts.” College is a vulnerable time for numerous reasons and we must combat everything from stress to mental illness by actively talking about these heavy subjects. Every year we go through the standard, “What to do in an earthquake, fire, and active shooter scenario” but what about our students’ mental health? Openness and awareness of the subject should become a standard talking point in society,specifically in colleges. You may think that this will do nothing to minimize the number of suicides each year, but even if doing this saves only one life, then it was worth it. This is why it is extremely important for colleges to educate students and faculty on the subject and provide the much-needed resources for students to be able to ask for help.

Not only should we do what we can to raise awareness for suicide prevention, but we should be advocating for mental health in general all year round as well. The two subjects go hand-in-hand. People do not normally talk about suicide because it is too sensitive of a subject. But, you never know who you could help by simply being open and honest about resources and education regarding the subject. It all comes down to saving lives.

Do not be afraid to talk, we can help:

Saint Martin’s Counseling and Wellness Center: 360-412-6123

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

 

Service as A Reason to Vaccinate Against Influenza

Jamie Nixon, Guest Writer

 

I’ve decided to try something different this year in my attempts to persuade you on the benefits of the seasonal flu vaccine. Each year, I encounter students who are entrenched in their beliefs against the vaccine. The varied arguments include the perennial “I never get sick, therefore I don’t need to get the vaccine,” along with the naïve, “I got the vaccine last year, so I don’t need it this year.” There’s my ever-favorite conspiracy theory about pharmaceutical companies that breaks down quick to a few holes poked in that argument. I also hear students who just admit that they hate shots and would prefer to take their chances with the illness itself, (which I usually describe as needless suffering). Some have reported that the flu shot “made them sick” and therefore they will never get the shot again. When asked to explain what their symptoms were following from getting the vaccine, I rarely hear the actual flu-symptoms: severe chills, fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, headaches, fatigue, weakness (lasting up to two weeks), cough, chest discomfort. There can be local adverse reactions with pain at injection site being the most commonly reported along with less than one-fifth of patients reporting short term systemic complaints of muscle aches, headache and fatigue. Again, that is not the flu. This can be a response to vaccination as your immune system mounts a defense against the antigens presented. 

This year, Saint Martin’s is celebrating a Year of Service. There are many ways to look at service, and I doubt your first thought is by getting your flu vaccine. More likely you will see service opportunities done with our amazing Crystal Cardona, the new Coordinator of Service and Justice. Please still volunteer with her AND get your flu vaccine (which protects those people you serve who may not have the means to vaccinate themselves).

I will hear some of you argue that the vaccine last year (and unfortunately some other years) was not a good match to the circulating strains. The projections are tough and are made even more difficult by the superiority of the brilliant and frequently changing virus we are trying to fight. I can tell you first hand that my patients who did get the vaccine and were unlucky enough to get the flu that their illness course was milder and shorter than those who did not get the vaccine. I think having a helpful visual of the board game “Pandemic,” or the dice version “Pandemic the Cure,” can help if you are not familiar with how rapidly viruses spread. I am happy to host a board game night in the TUB if any students want to play. Just ask Katie Wieliczkiewicz, Director of Campus Life, or Elizabeth Rumball, Assistant Director of Campus Life, first to make sure there are not fun events planned for the same time!

I can’t stress enough how important the vaccine is to protecting those vulnerable in the community. If any of you have anyone in your immediate or extended family under age of six months, please get your flu shot. They are too young to get the vaccine so by removing yourself as someone who could carry and spread the virus you are helping protect them. This also applies if you have anyone in your immediate circle who is over age 65, immunocompromised in any way or dealing with long term chronic medical conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or diabetes (their immune systems are not as great at developing the necessary antibodies to the antigens present in the vaccine). If you live in the residence halls I know Justin, Janie, Heather Nicole or Sarah will want as many of you vaccinated as possible (especially as it will help protect them and their families). If you are an athlete, you will be protecting your team, coaches, trainers and you will not impact your athletic performance or team’s season from a two-week illness.

 

I would like to say that the flu virus does not discriminate based on class, race, ethnicity, etc., but unfortunately that is not true. The virus will disproportionately impact those with limited access to healthcare, or whom the healthcare system has systemically discriminated against. If you are interested in learning more about the issue of healthcare disparity, please connect with the incomparable John Hopkins, Ph.D, at the Diversity and Equity Center in Harned Hall.

Every other year our office and the Counseling and Wellness Center send out a survey to all students that assesses multiple impacts to your health. Without fail one of the greatest impacts to your academic success (as reported by you or your peers) is illness. I guarantee your professors do not want you sick in their classrooms coughing on your desks and infecting your classmates. One way to prevent that, and as a service to your professors, is to get vaccinated. It’s free for all of you undergraduates through our office in Burton Hall, Room 102 (hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Or use your insurance and have it done at your grocery store or pharmacy (Target usually has a $5 off shopping coupon if you get your flu vaccine from their pharmacy).

The decision to vaccinate or not is ultimately up to you, though I beg that you use the valuable skills of critical thinking learned here at Saint Martin’s University to review the overwhelming data in support of the benefits of seasonal influenza vaccination. I know those I most need to persuade likely did not read to the end of this article. At the American College Health Association Annual Conference this year we had a guest speaker from the Center for Disease Control who was giving a talk on the greatest health threats to the college age group. Influenza and resulting complications of pneumonia or bronchitis were responsible for 0.6 percent of deaths in the 15 to 24 age group—184 deaths in a year.

Please consider this as another way to serve, something that seems so simple can have such a dramatic impact on our world. This will keep our entire community safer, (which our Public Safety team will also appreciate).

 

Thank you, John McCain

John McCain

Katherine Pecora, Staff Writer

 

The United States is experiencing an upheaval of civility and common decency. But, what divides us is so much less than what unites us. That is what the life of Senator John McCain will go on to teach generations far after ours. We were so lucky to live in a time where one of our leaders in this wonderful country was John McCain.

McCain followed in the steps of his father and grandfather attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. After graduating fifth from the bottom of his class, he went on to graduate from flight school in 1960. As the Vietnam War started, McCain volunteered for combat duty and flew carrier-based attack planes. On Oct. 26, 1967, his plane was shot down over Hanoi, Vietnam. When his captors learned of his lineage, the son of a high-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy, he was offered an early release. McCain refused; he would not let the North Vietnamese use him as a piece of propaganda. McCain was a true American patriot, putting his country first. He bled and suffered for this country. He spent five and a half years in prison camps and over three years in solitary confinement, where he was tortured and beaten. He earned the Silver star, Bronze star, Purple Heart and Flying Cross.

In a letter read by longtime aide Rick Davis, McCain stated “We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe, we weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.” McCain was mocked by a coward, Donald Trump, the President of the United States “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured,” said Trump. Nonetheless, McCain continued to work hard for what he believed in, he was not a man that would be bullied.

His political ascension began in 1976 when he was assigned as the Navy’s liaison to the U.S. Senate. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, then re-elected in 1984.

In 1986, the door was opened by the retirement of Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, to run for the Senate. McCain earned the reputation as a conservative but one that was not afraid to question the “group think mentality” that can often consume politics. A pivotal moment was McCain’s thumbs down for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act on July 27, 2017. He called for a correction of the legislation rather than a full repeal. John McCain saved the healthcare of many Americans that day.

In July of 2017, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. On Aug. 24 2018, his family released a statement that he would be discontinuing his treatment. On Aug. 25, McCain passed away. Though not broken, the foundation of the United States has cracked with the death of McCain. We have truly lost a remarkable human being. It is the duty of those in elected office to follow his morality, kindness and decency. Regardless of party, they must do what is morally right and will make this country better for all, not just for some. For the lessons that we all learned from Senator McCain, a true American hero, thank you. Rest in peace.

Editor’s Note

To our readers,

 

Thank you for taking the time to pick up a copy of our paper, the last issue of the year.  As I wrap up my career at Saint Martin’s, I have to thank everyone at the Belltower for all the help along the way. The Belltower staff has been nothing short of great. Being a part of the Belltower team has allowed me to learn more about events and students at SMU, and be proud of the community here.

In this issue we cover a variety of events and important issues. In News we cover the recent Facebook data breach, and the Russian mall fire. In Lifestyles we cover different cultures at SMU, and the government recruiting event held a few weeks back in Features. In Classroom and CCR we cover emergency preparedness and the Admitted Students Day. Arts and Entertainment includes reviews on new movies and restaurants around campus. In Sports, a review of the fall sports teams at SMU, and a feature on the softball coach.

Wrapping up my student life at Saint Martin’s ended with my completion of the Washington State Legislative Internship Program. Instead of taking classes, I worked in the State Senate for Washington State Senator Keith Wagoner, during the 2018 session. I was constantly learning about politics with lobbyists, constituents, State Representatives, and State Senators at our Capitol, and am happy to still have the opportunity to work as the Sports Editor for our paper this semester.

Thank you to the professors, my coaches Cato, Paige, my teammates, and Shannon and everyone in the Saint Martin’s Community for a great four years and congratulations to the graduating class of 2018.

 

Goodbye for now,

 

Brittany Orlosky

Sports Editor

Sen. Wagoner and staff.

Religion: choice or forced-belief?

Amanda Chappell, Section Editor

 

One thought that has consistently been on my mind since I “left the nest,” and became the sort-of independent adult I think I am, is the previous presence of religion in my life, and how it is no longer a prevalent existence. From the age of eight until 18, I attended church regularly, oftentimes more than once a week, because it was instilled in my mind early on, that it was a necessity in my life.

I never thought twice about that, because I respected parents enough to not question their decisions for me and my siblings’ wellbeing. Of course, I was young, and could not comprehend life decisions such as what I believed in, so I went along with it and lived my life as a conservative Christian.

By the time I was in high school, my parents weren’t as adamant on attending regular services, but I had already been brought under the wing of several church volunteers, that at this point, I now spent 3-4 days at the establishment, constantly volunteering my time and energy into the church. I thought nothing of this, however, I thought I was doing what I was supposed to as a member of the church, and a “Child of God.” When really, I got too caught up in trying to live up to what I believe my “mentor” expected of me.

When I was in the transition from high school graduate to college freshman, I consulted members of my church, regarding the new church I would call home, in Lacey. I was given a few options, and tips to find the “right” one, but the idea slowly became less important. Three months had gone by, and I hadn’t cracked open my bible or stepped foot in a church… I didn’t feel the need to.

By the end of the first semester, I wasn’t committed to religion anymore, and I rethought everything I used to believe in. I concluded that I was taught lies. I was told to put my faith into a being that I had no proof of existence. That didn’t sound right. I dove into all the other hate that had been preached by people I considered my mentors, ones who I looked up to. Before, I was ignorant to social matters, and only adhered to what the church told me was righteous. Whereas now, I understand what it’s like to accept those who are turned down by these megachurches and prideful speakers.

My depression began around the age of 14, when I had made an important decision in my life. I was miserable, scared, and begging this supposedly omnipotent present for my happiness back, because “He” was the one to control that, according to the church, it will be “in His timing.” Since then, I still deal with my hard days here and there, but I found happiness within myself, not in the hand of an old guy sitting on a cloud.

My point here is this: I wasn’t forced into religion, I just didn’t know any better – it was what I was used to. Until I became an adult and had the chance to decide for myself, it was my life. But, too often, parents are not giving their children the opportunity to explore their beliefs at the right time. It shouldn’t be until college that a person understands their beliefs, it should be experienced in their teens.

The ability to speak and stand-up for what you believe in is a wonderous thing, and it shouldn’t be dictated by who raised you. I think it’s important that we encourage younger minds to explore their beliefs, to challenge what they’ve been taught, and find out what feels right to them, not their families.