Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Should Christmas be celebrated early?
Nov15

Should Christmas be celebrated early?

Let’s be honest, with the upcoming holiday seasons, some can get a bit sensitive over the holidays. Some like to begin their celebration as early as possible, while others seem to be offended if Christmas decorations go up one second before Thanksgiving. Here’s the thing – I am unapologetic about watching my Christmas movies the day after Halloween, and I’m not afraid to say it. Here’s why. To begin, let me say that Christmas is very much my favorite holiday. From the tinsel on the tree to Mariah Carey singing about what she wants for Christmas, this holiday makes me, quite frankly, jolly. That being said, why would I wait until a small three week time frame in which it is socially acceptable to begin celebrating the holiday festivities? My short answer is – I won’t! Christmas is a time where joy and giving is abundant, if not encouraged. By beginning the festivities early, or before Thanksgiving, these qualities can be enforced before the holiday season, encouraging others to be kind and giving for more than a small window of time. With that in mind, who could deny that Christmas-related music and otherwise should not be brought out as early as possible? Christmas also brings a sense of nostalgia and comfort. It brings back memories often relating to such things as family and friends. Certain memories can be attached to various Christmas articles. For me, it’s Christmas movies. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is Christmas Eve. My family would gather together on Christmas Eve and binge watch as many classic Christmas themed movies as possible. These movies ranged from live action films such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf, to even older classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life. For me, watching these movies as soon as Halloween is over lets me reminisce of the past, and excites me for the next family shin dig. Why should this be halted? In what ways does this affect those who claim holiday music should be limited to such a short time span – three weeks before Christmas? To those claiming that Christmas enthusiasts like me simply skip straight from Halloween to Christmas and forget Thanksgiving, I hear you. The thing is, prepping for Christmas only amplifies my excitement for Thanksgiving. Once that turkey’s made and starts popping up on shelves and the feasts begin, it’s only a small gap until the big day from there. So, I’d like to counter argue that not only do I not forget the holiday, but also highly anticipate it. I highly anticipate it while listening to my Christmas music. With the end...

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Importance of knowing the history behind Thanksgiving
Nov15

Importance of knowing the history behind Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday many Americans look forward to. From the food and the Sunday football games to the family gatherings, Thanksgiving is a holiday that holds a special place in our hearts. What started out as a tradition to symbolize peace, later turned to hatred between Americans and Native Americans. This poses an interesting question – should we be celebrating a holiday that focuses on peace when there was actually a long string of violence afterwards? There is nothing wrong with celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday as a day of friendship and camaraderie. However, it would be lying through our teeth to say we celebrate this as a day of peace, because the peace did not last and it lead to the death and mistreatment of the Native Americans for centuries to come. This even continues today, with the standing rock pipeline issue in the Dakotas as an example. According to history.com, in 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast, which is considered to be one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations. In March, any remaining pilgrams went ashore and met an English speaking Abenaki Indian. A few days later, the Indian returned with another Native American named Squanto, who was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe. He had been previously kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto saw how badly the pilgrims were fairing in this new land and decided to teach them how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with a local tribe called the Wampanoag. This alliance would endure for more than 50 years. This is the story we were taught as children. However, the peace was only temporary and the feast and treaty are tragically one of the sole examples of peace between the European colonists and Native Americans. Over the next few decades, relations between settlers and Native Americans deteriorated as the former group occupied more and more land. Supposedly, the first major dispute was in 1675 called King Philip’s War, that left some 5,000 inhabitants of New England dead, three quarters of those being Native Americans. In terms of percentage of population killed, King Philip’s War was more than twice as costly as the American Civil War and seven times more so than the American Revolution. Throughout the next few centuries, the American Indian wars killed millions of people from both sides and left a dark stain in American history. Wikipedia defines The...

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Climate change: it affects you
Oct26

Climate change: it affects you

It’s a topic that has shown up more and more in the news with each passing day. For some people, climate change affects many different decisions in their everyday life. For others, climate change is something that was “made up by the government.” It’s a topic that many people don’t understand. It’s a topic that literally affects the world. It’s a topic that affects humanity in the present and the future. In March, the New York Times published an article called “How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps.” Ultimately, these maps offer useful data to support the idea that America needs to be more concerned about climate change. For instance, one of these maps compares how many Americans think that climate change will harm people living in the United States with how many people think that they will be personally harmed by climate change. On average, 65 percent of people do understand that climate change will negatively impact people in the United States. However, under 30 percent of people believe that they will personally by harmed by climate change. This goes to show that there is some concern about climate change, but there isn’t enough. Most people are living in a state of mind where they don’t think that anything bad can happen to them. It’s almost like they believe that they are immortal. This is not the state of mind that people need to be in when it comes to climate change. They need to realize that their choices today could affect them later in life, as well as change the world that their children and grandchildren live in. Texas and Florida are two states that are most vulnerable to climate change. But in these states, only around 57 percent of people are somewhat worried about climate change. So even though people are given the information, they choose not to believe it. According to NASA, climate change can have some pretty harmful impacts on humans. One of the most significant impacts is the long lasting drought, especially in the southwestern part of the United States. With a long term drought, jobs and food are both impacted. If there is too much of a drought, the farming industry will hurt. The farmers will then be out of work. Also, the food source in America will be compromised because of the drought. People need to know more about what they can do to help stop climate change. There are simple things such as recycling and carpooling that will reduce the impact that a person has on the environment. There are more advanced measures that can also be taken...

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Taking a stand by taking a knee
Oct26

Taking a stand by taking a knee

As the NFL season enters its seventh week of play, no storyline is more controversial and emotionally charged than players’ pregame protests. Over the course of the season, some players have used the time during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutailty by taking a knee or raising a fist. This collective outcry of players has divided the nation. One side asserts that the NFL or team owners must discipline players for disrespecting the anthem and the flag of their country. The other camp praises the players for using their presence on national television to increase awareness of the issues at hand. I find the entire situation perplexing. I understand the players’ desire to see change in their country, and acknowledge and fully support their right to lobby for that change however they see fit. If they wish to act in a manner that many believe disrespects the flag, they are exercising the very right to free speech guaranteed to them by the First Amendment, protected by our military, and represented by the flag. The idea that the powers that be should prevent players from protesting in this manner is unconstitutional, and defies what the flag represents more than the protests themselves. Although players can protest in this manner, they should not for two reasons. First, and most importantly, kneeling during the national anthem polarizes their audience. The group that ardently supports what the players stand (or rather, kneel) for generally will approve of their method of protest. On the other hand, those who disagree with the players’ pregame demonstrations of discontent will accuse them of disrespecting the flag. This effectively closes the minds of the group of people the players strive to impact before they are able to convey their message. Second, kneeling for the anthem is so controversial that it distracts from the issues the players are attempting to address. The entire uproar in the media has been with regard to the protests themselves, with next to no coverage devoted to police brutality and racial inequality. The protesting players drown out their own voices when they choose to demonstrate in such a controversial manner. NFL players have a large fan base and can speak at events, organize city council meetings and encourage others to raise awareness on social media, all without removing the public’s attention from their cause entirely. That way, many Americans would not have to choose between supporting a vital awareness campaign and respecting their country. The two must not be mutually exclusive in order for change to occur....

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What to do in the event that a car crash hits you out of nowhere
Oct26

What to do in the event that a car crash hits you out of nowhere

Being in a car accident is scary and not something that should be taken lightly. It is somehing that can happen to anyone, and is something I went through recently. In September, I was in a minor accident that involved another driver. I had no clue what to do, and I did the best I could to remember the basic guidelines. Carinsurance.com states that if someone is an average driver and got their license when they were 16 years old, it is highly likely that they will experience some kind of crash by the time they’re 34. The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicles crashes in 2016, and an estimated 4.6 million were seriously injured in accidents. Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues a Motor Vehicle Crash Overview containing statistics on reported crashes during one year and compares it to prior years. They found that by averaging the car accident data from 2005 to 2015, they estimate that more than 5 million car accidents occur every year in the U.S. This amounts to around 15,913 accidents per day. However, this represents the number of collisions between vehicles or vehicles with fixed objects – not the number of vehicles involved total. If it is your first accident, it is difficult to understand what to do and you could be taken advantage of. Whether you are in a fender bender or a major accident, there are guidelines to what you should do after a car accident. First and foremost, move to a safe area if possible and do not leave the scene. Leaving can result in legal consequences, like fines or additional violations. If you’re on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance. It’s dangerous for passengers to stand along a freeway or other road with lots of traffic. It is also vital that you make sure passengers are okay and that there are no injuries. If you collided with another car, check on them as well. It is important to check just in case you need to call an ambulance. Try to be cautious and polite, but do not admit fault. The next step is to call the police. While the accident might not appear to be serious, the police should be called if any damage is done to either vehicle or if there are injuries. It helps to call the police because they can file a report that will impact the insurance company’s decisions when you make a claim. When they arrive, try to copy down the officer’s name,...

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Give without prejudice
Oct13

Give without prejudice

“Hey man, you got some change? It’s a real hot day, and I could use a drink.” Expectant eyes look into mine as I reach for my wallet. My conviction to be generous wrestles with my doubt: could I be helping quench this man’s thirst for Dr. Pepper, or for something far more destructive? How am I to know how this stranger will spend my three dollars? As he disappears around the corner, I consider the situation, which reminds me of a Kendrick Lamar song. In “How Much a Dollar Cost,” Lamar describes a scene nearly identical to what I had just experienced, but different in one important detail: Lamar denies the homeless man a single dollar. After a brief conversation with Lamar, the man reveals himself to be Jesus Christ, telling Lamar that the price of the dollar was his place in heaven. As a commentary on greed, “How Much a Dollar Cost” encourages listeners to think not of panhandler’s plans for their money, but rather of the bigger picture: their duties as human beings to take care of each other. By extension, Lamar appeals to Christians to be Christ-like in our treatment of others, to give without hesitation. In a train station, I find myself able to, although unsure of his motives, do my best to make a positive impact on the man’s life in the only way I can. I do not believe that we should always assume the best, but to make a positive impact on others; it is necessary to suspend disbelief and listen to God. How unfortunate would it be to deny a brother or sister in Christ a few dollars out of distrust or a lack of understanding? Using common sense is still important. We can trust God to use our money for His good, while keeping an eye out for obvious warning signs that something is not right. Certainly there are situations where a handout will perpetuate a problem instead of alleviating it. At the end of the day, I believe it is always best to give to the needy, unless I see overwhelming evidence that I will do more harm than good. When on the fence about it, I find it best to trust God and let Him use my pocket change to touch another’s life. The homeless man returns and sits down a few minutes later, change from the vending machine in one hand, and a Dr Pepper in the...

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