The Irony of Cal U Pride…

Anyone who has ever attended a sporting event at our university, or has at least viewed any number of broadcasts produced by the schools television network, cannot help but notice the abundance of signs bearing the moniker CALUPride. This is a common display to behold. Nearly every institution in the United States, be it athletic, academic, elite, laity, or even the average weekend bowling league, will rarely neglect an opportunity to profess the delight or elation that they have for their organization. Often times these displays are quite loud and extremely public.

Every warm-blooded American has felt pride in some fashion in their lives. Whether it be pride in the achievements of one’s child, pride in the outstanding grade one had achieved on a particularly difficult examination, pride in belonging to certain ethnic or social group, or possibly even pride in one’s appearance, this country is reinforced by our pride. Yet there is a darker side to pride, as the case seems to be with most concepts in this world that are exclusively human. Pride can be blinding. It can make one oblivious to anything and everything contrary to their personal sphere of understanding. It can force one to choose A when B was clearly the better option, i.e. pride cometh before the fall. Pride breads intolerance, ethnocentrism, and, in the worst cases, genocide justified by the former. The concept of pride has toppled despots and crushed empires almost as often as the concept of time. So where is the irony that the title suggests?

Well, the answer is as simple as it is complex. Pride is a self-serving concept in stark contrast to the ideals that our university claims to hold as its shining pillar of moral fortitude: Civility, Integrity, and Responsibility. To be civil is to be courteous or polite. While pride can often motivate civility, more often than not it yields disdain, loathing, and disrespect. After attending a football game against IUP this becomes abundantly clear.

Integrity means to be faithful to ones morals, yet pride is arguably more often amoral than it is moral. If you want to be even more technical, one might ask what morals are the “right” morals. Surely Adolf Hitler had different morals than Martin Luther King, Jr; still, they both considered themselves as men of morality. To be responsible means to be answerable or accountable. Responsibility, especially in the patriarchal sense of the term, is often expressed through a “parental” pride in guidance and protection, while in most cases it equates tyranny and oppression obfuscated in “love” and “morality.”

To Catholics the world over, pride is a sin of the most mortal caliber. It ranks right up there among greed, vanity, and envy, which are also synonymous with pride. Pride is not always a taboo, but to have pride one cannot have civility, integrity, or responsibility.

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