Jesus was Watching: University-Sponsored Drag Performance Takes Place on Chapel Grounds

The Tower

Controversy develops over a University-funded drag show taking place outside and inside the campus chapel. 

On Friday, April 28, 2023, the Student Programming Board and Trinity University Pride jointly hosted a “Drag Brunch” which was located in the courtyard of the Marguerite B. Parker Chapel. Several students sat at tables eating food while drag queens hired from off-campus danced provocatively to raunchy music beneath a statue of Jesus.

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The juxtaposition between the provocative performance and the chapel’s role as a place of prayer and reflection has left students wondering, why the chapel? Of all the places on campus, why did the drag show take place right outside the sacred space used by multiple religious organizations? No matter one’s opinion on drag shows themselves, the choice of location raises eyebrows. The costumes worn by drag performers, their dance style, and the music are objectively vulgar. The show’s proximity to the Chapel comes across as ignorant at best, and blatantly disrespectful at worst. 

Additionally, the drag queens changed into their costumes and got ready inside the chapel. Not only were they performing right outside the building, but they also used the interior of the building, where religious services are held, as a changing room. 

“An Obscene Performance In A Public Space”

Needless to say, the event was not without backlash and did not go over well with religious or conservative students and parents. 

Ellis Jacoby, president of the Trinity Young Conservatives of Texas group, describes his experience encountering the performers in the chapel:

“I was going to class in the back of the chapel, and had stopped to get some water from the water fountain. When I turned around I saw two men changing into stripper clothing and doing makeup in one of the changing rooms of the chapel. I was shocked they were using a sacred space like the chapel for not only to perform their sexually provocative show, but to change in as well. Holding an obscene performance in a public space is wrong, and is indecent exposure. There are often kids or highschoolers on campus, as this is a public campus, and potentially exposing them to what is essentially pornography is criminal in my opinion.”

“The fact that they intentionally chose the chapel was an insult to religious groups on campus, and was obviously intentional by the group hosting the event.”

He also brings up an important point about the funding of the event, which concerns students, parents, and anyone financially involved in the University. 

“The fact that the Trinity Programing board sponsored the event meant, as students, our money went to it, and that it was supported by the administration. I don’t know what Trinity was thinking, but hopefully they are made aware of the obscene and disrespectful nature of what they sponsored, and how many people are displeased with it,” says Jacoby.

As a result of the chapel drag event, many were left confused as to why the University sponsored a divisive “strip show” that does not benefit the campus when they should have been putting the money towards education or improving the quality of life for students.

“Hateful Comments Will Be Deleted”

Controversy around the drag brunch began to develop on TU snaps, the Trinity student snapchat group, after an anonymous user posted concern over the choice of location. Any opinions from anonymous students speaking out against the disrespect for the chapel were insulted on the Snapchat page, a hostility toward alternative viewpoints that illustrates a concerning trend in higher education.

On Tuesday, May 2nd, a Muslim student protested the chapel drag show with a petition and a sign that read “drag shows don’t belong in public spaces”, only to be ridiculed on TU snaps. Ironically, these users are the very people who call themselves tolerant. 

In response, the Trinity University PRIDE Instagram account defended the use of the chapel in an instagram post.

They state that the reason they chose to use the chapel courtyard was because there were “so many other events happening on campus that day” However, students have confirmed that campus had been relatively empty, and that there were plenty of free spaces in other locations. 

The post also fails to explain why the drag queens entered the chapel and used it as a changing room. The reference to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who “use their faith to serve their communities” is referring to a sacrilegious street performance group that cosplays in religious costumes, including sexualized parodies of the Stations of the Cross and the Virgin Mary.

The drag queens themselves are tagged in other posts by the PRIDE account, and their personal accounts are ridden with explicit images. Regardless of political ideology, these pornographic images cannot be deemed “religious” by any stretch of the imagination, and should have no place on religious grounds whatsoever.

TU Pride concludes by stating in a comment below that “any hateful comments will be deleted”, implying that disagreement equates to hate, and closing the door on any opportunity for discussion.  

The Tower reached out to the Student Programming Board via email, asking about the event-planning process and whether or not religious leaders were contacted. The Tower has not received a response.

This is not the first time that the University has displayed their progressive bias concerning campus events. Earlier in the semester, they made a conservative speaker pay to speak on campus. Hosting a drag show in the chapel is problematic on a whole new level. This decision reveals either complete disregard toward religious groups by the Student Programming Board and University, or something far more intentional.

It’s Time for Conservatives to Reclaim Higher Education 

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Sylvia Patterson

One of the most concerning trends that I’ve noticed in conservative media today is a push against college education. 

A 2019 Pew Research Center study found that 38% of Americans believe that colleges and universities are having a negative impact on society, which is a 12% increase since 2012. The study found that the increase in negative views towards college has come “almost entirely from Republicans.” Just a few decades ago, this statistic would not exist. Once the champion of higher education and learning, the Right has now withdrawn from the institutions that used to embody its beliefs. As we will see, this creates a vicious cycle, leading only to the further radicalization of college campuses.

Higher education as a concept is inherently conservative. Deeply rooted in tradition and history, college requires hard work, delayed gratification, and leads to upward mobility and self-improvement. All of these ideals are conservative in nature. Why, then, do so many conservatives shun the idea of higher education?

Anti-College Sentiment

From complaining about the prices, the types of degrees, the radical beliefs, and various college scandals in the news, almost every article today about college from the Right is against it. There seems to be a not-so-hidden agenda to turn students away from pursuing a college education. Rather than taking steps to improve the university system, the Right now uses college as a means to provoke outrage through sensationalist journalism. What they fail to mention is that there are millions of successful, and conservative, college students. 

On conservative news sources, there’s always a bounty of articles implying that young conservatives should skip college. In reality, though, this is poor advice. College attendance rates for Gen Z  are already dropping, and the financial and emotional toll that forgoing college has on students’ futures is apparent, from isolation to unemployment. In fact, the college premium, the return on investment on higher education, has actually only increased in recent years, making the edge that college-educated have over the non-college educated even higher. 

The truth is that most industries require a degree for rising in the ranks. Additionally, with the rise of AI and automation, low-skilled jobs will be the first to go. When a financial crisis strikes, it’s the lower-educated jobs that are hit hardest. By skipping college simply for ideological reasons, young conservatives are cheating themselves out of their futures. 

College is not the only option, nor is it the best choice for everyone, but college is still the number one factor that will set someone ahead. In the end, the quality of the college experience is up to the student alone, it is up to the individual to decide how much they will get out of college. No one is forcing anyone to change their beliefs, compromise their values, or change their lifestyle. Do conservative leaders really think the youth is so weak-minded that a few professors can change their views? If a student has already made it through grade school and high school as a conservative, college should be no different besides living away from home, something that is inevitable with or without a college degree.

How to Think, Not What to Think

If conservatives are afraid that four years will change someone’s entire viewpoint, that conservative beliefs will fall apart at the first sign of conflict, they need to confront why these values might not hold up against opposition. Do young conservatives know how to think, or just what to think? In the marketplace of ideas, the most logical idea will inevitably prevail, so if conservative beliefs are the most rational, they should be able to hold their own. By attempting to scare the conservative youth out of a college education, the Right is becoming like the Left in suppressing the free exchange of ideas. 

While the Right champions “independent thought,” to them this means adhering to a strict set of conservative precepts. Is repeating set beliefs really thinking for oneself? Parents and conservative leaders should teach the logical reasoning behind conservative values, not just what they are. Ultimately, they should teach independent thought. Knowing how to think and explain your beliefs against opposition is crucial. Questioning and reasoning through what you believe is the only way to have true conviction.  

Part of knowing how to think independently means doing research. Not all colleges are created equal. Students should decide carefully where they want to go and what they want to study. It’s critical to look into the rate of return on colleges when thinking long-term about post-graduation plans. Students should consider whether a technical degree, a career-oriented path, or a classical liberal arts experience is right for them. Then, they must choose what to major in. This highly impacts the rate of return on a college degree. In general, degrees in the sciences are a better bet than the humanities in this day and age, both for avoiding political bias and for career prospects. 

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Already, some of the most important professions have gone “woke.” The nation needs more conservative professors, lawyers, teachers, psychologists, economists and journalists, not less. The only way to achieve this is by putting conservatives through college. Then, with a college degree, they will be able to enter society to shape and contribute to it. If conservatives stop going to college, then liberals will take up more and more of the college degrees available, thus allowing all the high paying and high influence jobs to fall to the Left. 

In a way, by being anti-college, conservatives are playing right into the hands of the Left. The more conservatives shun higher education, the more higher education and the jobs associated with it will become part of the Left. The liberal controlled higher ed will then naturally promote leftist principles and ideologies, making conservatives even more loath to pursue a college degree. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

If conservatives want to change the higher education situation, they need to go to college. It’s a long-term strategy, but it’s necessary to salvage the conservative movement and the higher education system. It’s time to bring back classical education. It’s time to bring back the intellectual side of conservatism. If our generation goes to college now and enters the world of higher education, we will then have new conservative professors for our children when they go to college. 

To Conclude

It’s time for conservatives to reclaim the universities. The more conservatives go to college now, the sooner the university system can be reformed. Forgoing college just because of the stereotypical politics associated with it is a foolish idea. Not only will students be forfeiting future success and financial stability, they will also miss out on character-building opportunities, networking advantages, and friendships and memories that will last well beyond the college years. College is a privilege that conservatives deserve and should take advantage of.

Magnifying the Fine Print: The Ins-and-Outs of Proposition A.

Jenna Lee 

It’s city election season again in San Antonio starting on April 24 running through early May. Due to recent legislation combined with the current political climate, this election is sure to stir up some controversy. In fact, it already has.

Proposition A is set to be one of the most anticipated items on the ballot. Back in February, many San Antonio based interest groups gathered over 30,000 signatures of citizens hoping for change regarding the city’s marijuana and abortion policies. The plethora of signatures brought Proposition A into existence, and gave it the name “The San Antonio Justice Charter.” According to the Justice Charter’s Website, Prop A promotes “Decriminalizing abortion and marijuana, promoting reproductive autonomy and justice, and banning no-knock warrants and chokeholds.” The aim of Prop A is to mitigate mass incarceration with cite-and-release laws for minor criminal offenses. Now, if you are a responsible voter, you might have a lot of questions.

You might be alarmed by the Justice Charter’s large scope encompassing many different issues. Roping in a number of hot-button topics and confining all of them to a simple yes or no can be frustrating for voters. To break things down, here’s what a YES vote means: a city Justice director will be appointed, police will not arrest for misdemeanor marijuana possession offenses, police cannot enforce criminal abortion laws, chokeholds and no-knock warrants will be banned, and citations instead of arrests will be issued for certain misdemeanors. A NO vote means: police can continue making arrests for certain misdemeanor marijuana possession offenses, enforce criminal abortion laws, not instate a Justice director, and change policing practices.

Here’s the issue, a voter could be anti-police chokeholds, but also be pro-life. Consider a pro-choice voter who is against cite-and-release. How about a voter who believes that San Antonio needs a Justice director, but believes that marijuana should be criminalized still. Due to the nuances of opinion, if you agree with one issue on the yes side, but not the rest, you are forced to either prioritize that one issue and vote for others you disagree with. The other choice is to vote no all together and miss out on sharing your voice on the important issue. Roping in many issues does not allow citizens to rightly express their opinions. Although an anti-abortion interest group tried to split up the issues in the Justice Charter, they were ultimately denied. 

Additionally, you might have wondered about the vagueness of the cite-and-release clause in Prop A. As stated before, a YES vote pushes “citations instead of arrests for certain misdemeanors.” What kinds of misdemeanors are we talking about here? The Justice Charter pushes for abolishing arrests for theft and vandalism, and they certainly aren’t broadcasting it. Prop A states that citations will be given for theft of property or service up to $750, criminal mischief damages up to $750, and vandalism up to $2,500. Again, this is in the name of reducing mass incarceration and promoting safety in the city. This is the major worry about Prop A. Although it proposes attractive reform for some voters, this sinister crime clause hides behind decriminalization of abortion and marijuana. Consider if citations over arrests will aid in San Antonio’s growing crime problem. Is a paper saying “don’t do it again” a big enough deterrent for criminals? Critics of Prop A believe that it isn’t, and that this will only harm small business owners who are victims of break ins, people waking up to smashed in car windows, or homeowners with property defaced by graffiti. Crime Grade states that a crime is committed every 6 minutes in San Antonio. Theft sits at the top of the most common criminal activity list, and it can happen to anyone. Is the Justice Charter really just if it lets San Antonio’s most widespread crime go virtually unpunished? As a voter, it is crucial to consider what a yes vote really means for our city. 

Now, to be very clear, this article is not meant to persuade voters in any direction on voting day. This is a call to always read the fine print on what you are really saying yes or no to. Do your own research when it comes to picking and choosing issues that are important to you…especially when they are unfairly bundled in with many others like in Prop A. Pay attention to elements of reform that go unstated; what are their implications? What do you value? What do you think our city needs? 

Cherise Trump Gives Talk Despite Being Considered an ‘Elevated Risk’ by Trinity University

Cherise Trump has spoken at many college campuses, but she has never had to get event insurance for a talk, until she came to speak at Trinity. Cherise is the executive director of Speech First, a nonprofit that defends the First Amendment rights of college students, but because her last name is Trump, despite sharing no relation with the President, Trinity considered her an elevated risk.

Jennifer Adamo, Trinity’s director of Risk Management, warned about the possibility of “disruption.” The talk posed an “elevated risk,” she told Ellis Jacoby, the chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas Trinity, in a February 20 email, because “there is potential for others to mistakenly believe that Cherise Trump is related to Donald Trump.”

Trump—who did end up buying a $76 plan—called the request “ridiculous.”

“Trinity should be fostering a campus environment that encourages its students to hear differing ideas without turning to mob violence,” she said. “Not only does this show that the university has little faith in its students’ ability to use the internet, it also coddles and shields students from opposing viewpoints.”

Asking for liability insurance is an unusual ask for a speaker, Ellis Jacoby noted that Trinity required no other previous speaker they had brought to buy liability insurance, even ones that talked about more controversial topics like Critical Race Theory or immigration. “Risk Management said its ‘best practice to request insurance for all events in which third parties are brought in,’ but that has not been the case until now for some reason.”

Those subjects are “more controversial than free speech,” Ellis wrote. “I haven’t had any problems with any protests or disturbances at any events I’ve hosted on campus, so I don’t think there’s a chance of anything happening at this event.”

When the event actually occurred on Friday, March 3rd, there were no protesters in sight, and the talk proceeded without issue.

Cherise outlined how free speech on college campuses is under assault today. Bias reporting systems are one tool that has been used to stifle free speech, as anonymous reports of “bias incidents” are reported to boards that then reprimand violators. Political speech and satire are particularly vulnerable because these systems favor students who easily take offense. Cherise noted a dramatic decrease in students who are willing to make any public political positions, as many students now either fear speaking up or don’t care enough to take positions.

She noted the rising influence of DEI in hiring professors, DEI statements that professors have to sign, and the use of sexual harassment allegations to fire tenured professors who speak against leftist postions. The Biden Administration is also making changes to Title IX so that it will soon include gender identity, essentially making not using someone’s correct pronouns tantamount to sexual harassment. The only way to push back against these and other changes is to hold university’s accountable, and embarrass them and sue them when they restrict free speech Cherise argued at the end of her talk .

“It’s ironic” Ellis noted, “Trinity was trying to impede Cherise from giving a talk about how universities are restricting free speech”.

It’s Time to End the Time Change and Switch to Texas Time

We all hate feeling jetlagged. That groggy, tired feeling is the unpleasant result of long-distance travel.

The concept of social jetlag works in a very similar manner. The term refers to the reactions observed in people’s bodies that are similar to travel-related jetlag, which stems from a person’s circadian rhythm (or internal clock) being thrown off. Social jetlag can also lead to a higher risk of obesity, cardiac issues, and strokes.

Twice a year we are forced to change the times on our clocks, causing not only the annoyance of a day of social jetlag and sleep-deprived work, but also engendering a host of small-but-noticeable negative economic, psychological, and health effects.

Some scholars also estimate that the U.S. economy suffers an annual economic loss approximating 2% of GDP due to productivity declines. A whole day of fatigue every March not only feels awful, but is costing our economy. In addition, fatal traffic incidents have been observed to increase by around 6%, and vehicle collisions with wildlife also go up by around 8–11% because of the transition.

Negative effects aside, people agree that something should be done, with 71% of Americans supporting putting an end to changing between daylight saving time (DST) and standard time. But they disagree on what we should have instead. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago determined that Americans are split, with 40% in support of standard time while 31% support permanent DST.

In 2022 Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the Sunshine Protection Act. The Sunshine Protection Act, which passed quickly through the Senate without debate but then died in the House, would have set daylight saving time as the year-round default starting in autumn 2023. Under current law, clocks change twice each year, with daylight saving time beginning in March and ending in November. The Senate bill would end an 80-year tradition of seasonal clock switching. States could remain on standard time instead, like Arizona and Hawaii do currently, but they would have to stick with it all year.

Rubio and Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat-Key) have reintroduced the Sunshine Protection act, to once again make permanent DST an option for states. But neither the Senate or the House have acted upon it as of yet.

Florida, where Rubio hails from, was the first state in 2018 to pass a bill that would apply year-round DST once the Sunshine Protection Act is passed. Seventeen other states — Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming — have passed similar laws, resolutions or voter initiatives.

Texas is missing from that list currently, but it’s not for a lack of effort. Numerous attempts have been made in previous sessions to try and end Washington D.C.’s time change mandate, but none have made it further than a committee hearing. Disagreement over which time zone Texas should adopt is often what holds these bills up.

The Texas legislature introduced two bills in 2021, House Bill 1405 and Senate Bill 471, proposing the Lone Star State permanently observe either DST or standard time. Neither passed.

This session has already seen 15 bills introduced to end the time change, 8 giving the choice to voters, 6 to make DST permanent, and one to make standard time permanent. This shows there is growing political will behind ending the time change, but what we have lacked is pressure on the legislature to act on these matters, as the effects and anger caused by the time change are effervescent, despite their magnitude. 

For too long we have had to deal with the biannual time adjustment and endure the consequences that come along with it. A yearly day where we all have to deal with social jetlag is not only a personal headache but has far reaching consequences for the economy and society. It’s time for the Texas Legislature to stop the clock change and give Texans some consistency. Call your legislator or your senator, and tell them to hand the choice to the Texan people so they can decide what time they want to stick with year round. Let’s establish “Texas Time” for the whole year and end the archaic and detrimental policy of changing the time.

The Tower Receives Journalism Award at 43rd Annual YCT State Convention.

The Young Conservatives of Texas held their 43rd annual state convention in Austin over the weekend of February 24-26. Bringing together chapters from all over the state, YCTers celebrated another year of hard work and dedication to the Conservative movement. 

Senator Bryan Hughes kicked the convention off with an eloquent talk, followed by a casino night as YCTers loosened up and got to test their luck in the games of chance. 

The Saturday schedule started early at 9am with a panel of seasoned legislators Senator Brian Birdwell and State Representative Matt Shaheen talking about their priorities in the 88th Session. School choice was next, as a trio of women with lots of experience in the fight for school choice explained the importance of the issue. The Higher Education panel hit close to home for college students, with Cherise Trump reminding students of the importance of protecting free speech on the campuses. 

The career panel gave YCTers a look at the career options available for them, and the desperate need for more true conservatives in DC, Austin and beyond. Mark Morgan delivered a passionate critique of the Biden administration’s handling of the immigration crisis on our Southern border during the lunch keynote. 

Former State Senator and founder of the Texan political news organization Koni Burton gave the keynote speech during the Gala on Saturday night to a packed audience. Newly elected Chairman Nate Dunning handed out awards recognizing the chapters and individuals for the accomplishments over the preceding year. 

Your very own Tower received the John Parker Award for Journalism, an award given to “a YCT publication that showed outstanding dedication to their craft.” This award was only possible thanks to the hard work of our staff, and due to the support of readers like you. Our editorial board wants to thank each and every person who contributed to this award by writing, editing, or just reading articles here at the Tower. 

A Culture of Decadence

John Love 

After the second World War, life for the average white middle-class American was better than it had ever been before. Technology was advancing at a breakneck speed, giving the average American access to inventions like the refrigerator, washing machine, and television. Nearly every average standard of living metric was at an all-time high, from diet and physical health to the strength of family and community networks. Life was good. However, much has changed since then.

Today, I believe we live in a culture of decadence, and I know I am not alone in feeling this sentiment. Many people, including New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, now believe we live in a time characterized by “economic stagnation, institutional decay, and cultural and intellectual exhaustion”. I believe a few core assumptions spawned during the so-called “good times” have invaded our cultural psyche and led us down a path to our current age of decadence.

Technological Advancement and a Cultural Decline

As previously mentioned, technology was advancing at a record pace in the post WW2 boom era. This brought many goods to the world. Life spans advanced greatly due to the advancements in modern medicine and food technology. Time spent doing household chores was greatly reduced by the dishwasher and washing machine, freeing up women to do less menial activities and jobs. However, with these benefits come some negative side-effects.

When technology advances so rapidly, our culture often has a hard time keeping pace. For example, take the case of television. Until 1973, a town in Canada codenamed “Notel” did not have access to television due to its isolated mountainous geography. Right before television was introduced to the town, Dr. Tannis MacBeth conducted a study comparing it to analogous nearby towns that did have television, with Notel as the best possible control group on the effects of television. The results speak for themselves; Notel residents showed higher IQs, less aggression, and more self control and empathy. 

Two years after television was introduced to the town, MacBeth returned to Notel. The change was apparent. Before the introduction of TV, the town had a strong sense of community, with regular sports matches and community dinners. After TV was introduced, the number of and demand for these events had diminished, as the new default norm after work was to go home and watch TV.

The Rise of the Pursuit of Pleasure 

The trend towards television is just one part of a general societal shift towards the emphasis on, and glorifying of, pleasure. This can be easily seen in the content made for the youth and teens. Before this period of decadence, the youth loved stories and magazines about great feats, ingenuity, and exploration, shown in the popularity of the western genre in America, and publications like Boys of the Empire abroad in the old British Empire. However, these traits of valor and bravery are no longer seen as what is desirable by the younger generations, with the new end-all-be-all being more along the lines of Dazed and Confused; sex, drugs, and just having a good time. After all, “if we’re all going to die anyways, shouldn’t we enjoy ourselves now?”

Disordered Judgment 

This feeling of nihilism and self-pleasure is in part driven by the decline of organized religion in the USA and the west as a whole. However, that does not keep the now churchless people from using and corrupting parts of Christianity’s teachings in pursuit of a new meaning in life. One of the most famous teachings of Jesus is “do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1 NIV). So famous is this teaching that it persists in the minds of people even after they stop practicing their faith, who then interpret it as a decree against judgment of all kinds. We therefore act in a laissez-faire manner towards others, treating doing such as love and judgment as hate. All actions are good besides those seen as uniquely evil; Nazism, racism, and the like.

However, doing this ignores the rest of, and original meaning of, the passage, which says “how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:4-5). This advice holds true not just to the faithful, but to all. Anyone honorable and just should look for the flaws they hate in others, then look for those same flaws in themselves. This allows us to improve ourselves and gives us greater empathy for the plights of others. However, people trend towards one of two extremes. Some refuse to judge others, citing a supposed lack of objective morality. Others easily judge others but refuse to judge themselves, believing themselves to be superior to those without any sense of objective morality, leading to nothing but vitriol and anger. 

This lack of healthy judgment does not just cause a stain on the behavior and mannerisms of an individual, but a negative impact on society at large. Postmodernism largely can be derived from this dismissal of objective fact and casting judgment, instead favoring subjectivity and skepticism. This intellectual stance is inherently meaningless and illogical, as it believes that multiple truths are possible, which is easily disprovable by allowing the ideology to interact with the real world; relativism in the fields of science, engineering, and technology would make the world unlivable. Because of our lack of ability as a society to judge, we find it hard to reject this very flawed stance, and thus it continues to be prominent in intellectual spheres. This results in the promotion of obscurantism, the decline of art and culture, and difficulty in the expansion of analytical or empirical knowledge.

To Conclude

One may read all this and be quick to place the blame on the generation that first went through these changes, the Baby Boomers. However, we have not done anything to change since then, only going further into these negative practices. Instead of watching television for many hours a day, we now spend hours each day on social media, isolating ourselves even more from others and the outside world. The media we consume is depicting more degenerate scenes than ever, such as in the hit show Euphoria. We still lack the ability to judge others and to improve ourselves. We are still a part of the same “macro generation”.

In order to break this cycle, we must strive to improve ourselves. Instead of scrolling social media today, go for a walk, call up a friend, or read a good book. Don’t seek leisure or pleasure as an end of itself, strive to be the best man or woman you can be. Only then will you have taken the plank out of your own eye. Only then can we end this culture of decadence.

Christmas Catastrophe: A Recap of The Bomb Cyclone of 2022

By Jenna Lee

The arrival of the holidays is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Weary students yearn for rest from final exams and home-cooked meals. Those in the workforce finally get some well-deserved days off or shorter shifts. Many families are excited to celebrate and catch up after times of separation. Most everyone awaits this special time…especially after the chaotic and busy year. However, just when you think you’ve seen and been through it all, enter the Bomb Cyclone. 

What is a Bomb Cyclone?

According to Accuweather, a popular weather app, a Bomb Cyclone is a “Storm (low pressure area) that undergoes rapid strengthening. The vast majority of such storms occur over the ocean. The storm can be tropical or non-tropical in nature.” One major factor of this storm in particular is its movement of bone-chilling arctic air into the states. This led to 30 degree or more drops in temperature…within a few hours. The Guardian elaborates on the cause of this storm’s rapid progression, “The bombogenesis was caused by a collision of cold, dry air from the north and warm, moist air from the south.” Millions of people received freezing weather warnings via their cell phones as well as experienced record-breaking cold temperatures all over the United States. 

What really put the nail in the coffin, however, was sub-zero wind chill. The human body regulates temperature through convection, meaning that heat circulates around the body and radiates outwards. When you factor in strong, freezing wind, this can blow away that “heat layer,” thus leading the body to be more susceptible to hypothermia and other cold-related ailments in less time. To avoid the misery, people hunkered down indoors. Yet, there were still MANY problems that arose, even if you were safe from hypothermia. 

What problems occurred?

With the arrival of the Bomb Cyclone came multiple worrisome effects. Many homeowners in the northern United States experienced power outages due to the wind and strain on the system. Car troubles plagued the nation like frozen coolant and blocks. Here in San Antonio, the risk of frozen pipes was very high. Citizens were encouraged to keep faucets dripping, purchase covers for pipes, and circulate warm air in vulnerable areas like bathrooms. An interviewee for The Tower living in Alamo Heights commented, “It was stressful, we had to follow protocol. We relied on neighbors for some help with pipe coverings. Every morning I would wake up and make sure nothing froze. That could’ve caused thousands of dollars in damage.” While the temperatures were freezing in South Central Texas, there wasn’t any snow. Certainly parts of the US would consider us lucky. Blizzards and low visibility made driving, or any outdoor activities for that matter, nearly impossible and highly dangerous. Yahoo News estimated the lives lost due to the storm to be at least 70, 39 of the victims were located in New York. The cyclone proved to be a nightmare for those at home, and for those that needed to travel for the holidays, it was a downright disaster.

Forget the Grinch Stealing Christmas…

The brunt of the Bomb Cyclone’s effects unfortunately took place around the days leading up to Christmas. Anyone with plans to travel home or on vacation during the storm will likely have a horror story to tell you. Folks flying on airlines like Southwest, Alaskan, American, and United (and many more) experienced unprecedented delays and cancellations of historic proportions. There was no doubt that the storm exposed numerous systemic and technical issues in some of these airlines. 

For the lucky minority that was able to reach their destination, troubles with lost luggage quickly dampened holiday cheer. The wait in the airline counter lines was anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to be rebooked and customer service queues left you waiting on the phone for 4 to 5 hours.  Even then there was no guarantee that there would be another flight or that luggage would be available. In the event that there was not an alternative flight, travelers scrambled to find last minute transportation options such as a rental car road trip or a last-minute hotel airport booking. Some unlucky customers spent days at airports where they were stranded. With the pileup of desperate travelers came crew shortages. At the Dallas-Love Airport, overhead announcements regarding missing flight attendants and crew members were rampant. Central hub airports like Newark and Denver suffered from more cancellations and delays than actual successful takeoffs. 

Recently, some Reddit threads allegedly authored by airline employees have gone viral. These undercover employees attributed the domino-effect of cancellations to scheduling issues exacerbated by the weather. One Redditor from Southwest Airlines ( informed confused and angry travelers that, “The scheduling software went belly up and it almost all has to be unraveled over the phone with crewmembers calling scheduling. If we had better technology that eliminated the need for phone calls, this would have been fixed by now.” This year’s Bomb Cyclone was a true test of airline functioning, and it is safe to say that many of them need to make some changes. 

Moving Forward

The US Department of Transportation issued a statement claiming that it would hold Southwest, the airline plagued with the most troubles from the storm, accountable for helping their customers reach their final destinations, retrieve their luggage, and return to normal operations. As of New Years, practically every airline resumed their usual service, but the effects from the Bomb Cyclone continue to ripple on in lost baggage taking weeks to be recovered, vouchers, and refunds. Sadly, millions of Americans were unable to connect with their friends and families this Christmas, something no voucher can really replace. Yet, hopefully, a weather catastrophe like this won’t strike again to ruin Christmas plans. However, if it does, we anticipate better airline preparation. Fingers crossed, we hope there is a lesson learned here!

Bomb Cyclone or not, let this event be a warning to always be prepared, a reminder to have a back-up plan, and a testament to the patience of all of those waiting in customer service lines. 

Top 10 Christmas destinations across the US

Sylvia Patterson

There’s no better way to get in the Christmas spirit than to explore a new city from a Christmas point of view. 

Make use of the vacation part of Christmas vacation and plan a getaway to a festive city. There, you can take part in local Christmas festivals, see spectacular light shows, and wander through the stalls at a European-style Christmas market. Where are the most festive places in the country? Look no further than this list. 

From the northeast to the southwest, and from big cities to small towns, here are the top cities to spend the holidays in across the USA.

  1. New York City, NY

New York City is without a doubt the ultimate Christmas destination. NYC offers many of the nation’s most famous holiday attractions, from the Rockefeller Christmas tree, ice skating at the Rockefeller center, the Nutcracker Ballet, and the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. NYC also has a Holiday Train Show, and a light show at the Botanic Garden, and the world’s largest gingerbread village, GingerBread Lane.

  1. Mystic, CT

The location of the film, Mystic Pizza, Mystic Connecticut is a charming coastal town, the ideal place for a small New England Christmas, and by the sea no less. Take a Lantern Light Tour of the Seaport Museum, watch the Holiday Boat Parade, or stroll through the historic village during the Festival of Lights.

  1. Bethlehem, PA

Nicknamed “Christmas City”, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania lives up to its namesake by embracing the Christmas season. Experience the Christkindlmarkt or the authentic German-inspired Christmas City Village, take a carriage ride through the historic downtown, and take part in the city’s most unique tradition, its nightly Live Advent Calendar.

  1. Alexandria, VA

Alexandria, Virginia is just a 20 minute drive away from DC, but has more authentic charm than the capital itself. Walk down the quaint streets of Old Town and stop at a charming cafe or visit the Holiday Market.  Be sure to do some sightseeing at the nation’s capital, too, especially the National Chritsmas tree and ice skating at the National Mall.

  1. Chicago, IL

The Windy City is one of the most enchanting places to spend the holidays. The city streets will be decked out in Christmas decorations and lights, in perfect contrast with the gray, wintery lakefront. Some must-see attractions include Michigan Avenue and the Macy’s window displays, the Christmas trees around the world exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, and authentic European Christkindl Market.

  1. Telluride, CO

Nothing beats Christmas in the snow-covered mountains. The mountain town of Telluride boasts a number of festive activities. From the lighting of the ski tree on Noel Night, to the Mountain Village Holiday Prelude which includes ice skating, train rides, and more, to the Christmas Eve Torch Parade where the whole mountain is lit up in fire light.

  1. Northfield, MN

Visit Northfield for a cozy small town Christmas in the heart of Minnesota, a true winter wonderland. The arboretum will be covered in snow, and main street will be decked out in holiday lights. Be sure to get tickets to the Christmas festival at St. Olaf College, involving a scandinavian banquet and a nationally acclaimed Christmas concert.

  1. St. Augustine, FL

Spend the holiday season in the Sunshine State with a stay in St. Augustine. The city embraces the holiday season with its award-winning Night of Lights Festival, which runs for two months straight. You can also take a historic trolley tour to see the decorations, and be sure to check out the Holiday Regatta of Lights, in which decorated boats put on a light show.

  1. San Antonio, TX

For a merry Texas Christmas, San Antonio is a must-visit city. There are numerous light shows, ice skating, the historic Alamo mission, and of course, the famous riverwalk will be illuminated with holiday lights. Everything along the San Antonio river will be lit up, from the branches of the trees, to the water itself. 

  1. Honolulu, HI

A Hawaiian Christmas is a once in a lifetime experience and the vibrant island life will certainly be a welcome change of scene. Live out the lyrics to Bring Crosby’s carol, as you look at the Christmas displays at the Royal Hawaiian Center, or enjoy live Christmas music as you stroll down the Waikiki Beach Walk. 

To Conclude

Whether you choose to embrace the winter season by heading to a snowy location, or head south to escape the cold, these cities are home to some of the best must-see destinations for the holidays. 

We Need to Look Out for Our Future

John Love

As individuals, we oftentimes struggle to comprehend our actions past their immediate impacts. This often can cause negative impacts further on down the line. Some effects can be relatively minor. When faced with a good meal or a tasty sweet, we will eat past our limits, satisfying our taste buds in the moment, only to regret it by feeling bloated, or seeing a higher number on the scale. However, some effects can be much greater. Many Americans (75% to be precise) have retirement savings that fall short of even the most conservative of savings targets, and (21%) don’t save at all. So too can vary the effects of short-sightedness as a nation.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit”. Some attribute this quote to the Ancient Greeks, some to modern motivational speakers, but the one thing all can agree on is that the sentiment rings true. Western societies of old were renowned for the ability to look beyond their own current short-term benefit for the greater good of their societies in the long run, as seen in the cathedrals of medieval Europe which would take hundreds of years to complete. However, nowadays, we have collectively decided to stop looking out for the needs of the future in order to satisfy the wants of the present.

Sacrificing Long-term Investment for Short-term Gains

Shareholder capitalism is the driving economic system in the USA and much of the modern world. In such a system, corporate leaders are legally required to operate companies in a way to maximize value for shareholders, meaning those who have purchased a share of the company. This usually takes form by the company executives doing anything they can to keep share (stock) prices high and growth metrics consistent. While the system allows for great short-term results for investors, it can oftentimes be to the detriment of the company’s employees and customers, or even to the detriment of the company itself. 

If a company makes a profit, it would be logical to assume it would be best for the company to reinvest its profits back into itself, in order to continue to achieve profits in the future. However, that is often not the case. Corporate leaders are under such great stress to keep share prices high, meaning they oftentimes have to cut back on investments in R&D, employees, or capital expenditures, all of which would help the company succeed in the long-run. This has not always been the case. Financial markets used to be seen as a way to easily create long-term investments in sound businesses. However, as these markets have grown more complex in modern times, the growing number of financial intermediaries has started to see investments in the market as a sort of paper asset; something meant to be traded in the short-term, not invested in the long-term. This new kind of trading makes some, including the intermediaries, quite wealthy in the short term. However, this kind of trading is also a zero-sum game, sorely lacking in long-term wealth creation.

The Debt to GDP Ratio: a Marker of Economic Health 

As financial markets have matured and grown more complex in the USA, so has the country’s debt to GDP ratio. The ratio, defined as the total government/sovereign debts of a country to its GDP, or economic output, is usually a bellwether for the health and performance of an economy. For example, a study done by the World Bank shows that countries with a debt to GDP ratio of more than 77% are expected to go through economic slowdowns and recessions. As of 2022, the ratio in the USA is over 120%, as seen in the graph below.

Traditionally, the debt to GDP ratio has remained quite low in the USA, only spiking in times of large government spending, mainly in times of war or financial recession. These instances of spending make sense in the short and long term; one cannot fight or win a war without spending big on the armed forces, and fiscal spending and loose monetary policy can help a struggling economy bounce back. However, both of these come with a caveat. Once the war or recession is over, spending must go down, and taxes must go up.

While America has been good historically about maintaining a low federal debt to GDP ratio, it has not been nearly as good since the 1980’s. In response to the recession, inflation, and oil crisis of the 1970’s, Reagan was elected president under a platform of lowering taxes in order to help the American economy recover. This resulted in the annual federal budget deficit growing from $41 billion in 1971 before his presidency to $212 billion in 1985 after his first term in office. 

By this time, the American economy was booming again, meaning that spending should be cut and taxes should be raised in order to maintain a stable debt to GDP ratio. However, that has not been the case. Besides Clinton’s second term in office, every over American president has seen an increase in the debt to GDP ratio. Spending continues to increase during each recession (from $161 billion in 2007 before the Great Recession to $1.41 trillion in 2009 after) but even when policy is tightened, it rarely ever results in a budget surplus, just less of a budget deficit.

Utopia vs Reality

Why would American politicians engage in such reckless fiscal policy? The answer is quite simple. Americans, as with all other people, hate to pay taxes. Additionally, Americans love government benefits and programs, such as medicare, social security, and infrastructure. These beliefs, while compatible in a theoretical utopia where scarcity does not exist, are not compatible in the real world. However, it is unlikely that any presidential candidate would be elected on a policy of making their voters’ lives worse, even if only in the short term. Instead, Republicans run under a policy of decreasing taxes (with negligible spending decreases), while Democrats run under a policy of increasing spending (with negligible tax increases). Both yield the same result in regards to the debt to GDP ratio. 

These problems mentioned are far from the only instances where we prioritize short term benefits of long term successes. We prioritize increases in home value over home affordability through restrictive zoning policy, helping retirees maintain home values at the expense of the young looking for a place to live. We raise our children in ways that keeps them protected and sheltered, but causes them to flounder in the real world. It’s in our personal lives, our culture, and our elected governments.

To Conclude 

When looking towards the future, we have two choices. Either to continue to try to benefit in the short term at the expense of either our future or future generation’s futures, or to bite the bullet now; to do things that may harm us in the short term, but will greatly benefit us many years from now. We can stop structuring our financial markets in their current predatory forms, which seek to leech from companies instead of investing in their futures. A potential solution to this would be structuring shareholder voting rights in a way that makes them dependent on the length of time they have held their shares, instead of just by the number of shares they currently hold. We can stop supporting politicians who care more about getting elected than the economic health of the nation. We can look out for the needs of the future instead of the wants of the present.