“Manifest Destiny” top spurs varied community response

White disillusioned girl wearing a yellow "Manifest Destiny" shirt
Illustration by Maya Winshell

Members of the Lewis & Clark community recently caught Astra Pellatz ’21 on campus sporting a new tee from the alternative fashion company Urban Outfitters which brandished the text “Manifest Destiny.” Pellatz received varied responses from students and professors alike. 

Pellatz, a self-proclaimed new-age spiritualist, claims that the text on their shirt merely spoke to one of their meditative practices and was not intended to cause emotional harm or discomfort. 

“In no way did I mean to upset the status quo,” Pellatz said. “My friend bought me this shirt as a parting gift, and it’s honestly insulting to face an accusation of insensitivity when I’m so often discriminated against by my peers for my own spiritual practices.” 

When asked to expand on the exact nature of their friend’s “parting,” Pellatz declined to comment. However, they did continue to defend their practices as a staunch spiritualist while drawing on a personal anecdote to illustrate their point. 

“As a spiritual apprentice myself, I have learned to manifest my dreams into realities,” Pellatz said. “This year I was able to manifest a healthier relationship with my mother into existence. After getting caught stealing some of her prescribed Xanax, I was forced into rehab. And that time away from her has forced me to realize that living apart has been so beneficial for the both of us. Our relationship has never been better.”

Pellatz was allegedly on campus to pick up their latest basalt shipment as president of the Astrological Phenomenological Ecological Demisexual Club when they were spotted by numerous people. Taylor Schinfield ’23 happened to see Pellatz leaving Templeton with a hula hoop draped over their shoulder and noticed the text.

Despite not knowing Pellatz on a personal level, Schinfield expressed support as he considers himself a similar practitioner of non-Western spirituality.

“I don’t get what the big deal is,” Schinfield said. “So what if the term ‘Manifest Destiny’ implies a history of ruthless colonization and Indigenous displacement and genocide? That was so long ago, and people should realize that stuff like that is not happening anymore. ‘Manifest Destiny’ has taken on a new meaning in our generation’s spiritual context and nomenclature.”

Some members of the community have followed Pellatz’s lead by incorporating their own questionable ideologies into different aspects of their wardrobes. Many “Self Love is Self Loathing” buttons have appeared on the frayed jackets of freshmen, and “Real Women Vote for Trump” hats have become the latest arbitrary fashion accessories of LC students attempting to express some semblance of individuality. 

At the time of publication, administrators have neither censured nor applauded Pellatz’s controversial tee. President Vim Vievel did opt to email a bulletin to the LC community advocating for the “common interest” and “multiculturalism,” but he ultimately declined to speak to The Pioneer Log regarding the situation.

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