Here’s A Question: Why Isn’t Anyone Ever “Happy” Or “Glad” Anymore?
People are too damn proud these days. I realized this when I received an email from my bank stating they were “proud to announce a new online experience” for their website. It seems you can’t read a press release these days without loads of pride in it. Any new hire requires a statement that “we are proud to announce our new… (call director/assistant cashier).” Anything above that pay level requires quotes from three different people all declaring their pride—“I’m proud to be part of” or “we’re proud (he/she) has joined our team.” A new headquarters or systems upgrade, all provoke similar outpourings of pride.
This has consequences. Pride comes at the expense of other fine and forgotten emotions. Nobody is happy or glad anymore. People used to be happy when they graduated school, now they’re “proud graduates,” not elated or ecstatic, as I was when I graduated college back in the “big shoulder” decade.
But if so many students are bursting with pride, so are their parents. I regularly see bumper stickers proclaiming to all the world that the driver is the “Proud Parent of an Honor Roll Student” at such and such school, or sometimes “academy,” which of course swells the level of pride to stratospheric levels.
I know if I had a kid who brought home good grades I’d be more relieved than proud, especially knowing my genetic propensity towards ADD. With that in mind, I proposed a “Relieved Parent of an Honor Roll Student” bumper sticker. That would be refreshing to read as I wait for the light to turn green.
Pride is so ubiquitous there’s even a Pride March and a Pride Day. Last time I checked they were up to Pride Week. It can’t be long before there’s a Pride Month, because there’s always mission-creep in these things. Pride is like fine wine—a glass is good, two are better—so why not the whole damn bottle?
Pride is so pervasive it’s even in our national anthem. We sing before every game that “proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.” Not respectfully, or hopefully or longingly. I realize that in 1814 Francis Scott Key didn’t have a smartphone with a thesaurus app, but I’m sure he had other adjectives at his disposal. Everyone’s favorite emotion has been snowballing since.
Perhaps pride has such a foothold because it can be mixed and matched so readily with many other concepts, movements, ideals and goals. Pride is the new water—the universal solvent. We now have “Proud Dreamers.” I think that has something to do with getting a Green Card or some variation in achieving in-state discounted college tuition. There’s no longer a need to wish upon a star, because with pride on your side, all your dreams come true.
But it’s when ethnicity comes into play that pride goes wild, since, naturally, everyone is proud of their national, linguistic, racial and ethnic background. We have proud Asians (an entire proud continent), proud Latinos, proud Native Americans, proud African-Americans and proud just about any other hyphenated American you can think of. Except proud White, of course, that would be racist.
So let’s give pride a well deserved rest. Other emotions are waiting in the wings for their moment in the sun and our consciousness. I’m glad to do my part. I’m feeling so verklempt right now. And just a teeny bit proud.