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personal pride

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Go ahead and be selfish just this once, keep your personal pride personal.


Who among us admits personal pride? Raise a hand.

All up? Good.

Pride for you and yours is a cornerstone of civilization, something to build on.

You can tell personal pride people when you see them in full blossom.

They wear it on their sleeve, on their chest, their car window, the bumper.

It’s usually associated with other things, the sort of things that shares pride with others.

Still, it’s all good advertising for the common well being.

It’s the anti-pride people you need to watch out for.

You know them as appearing one way, acting another.

Perfect hair, fashionable style, everyone’s buddy, no one’s friend.

Until you need them and they show up like a fire crew loaded for a four alarm blaze.

They sort of ruin the stereotype of first impression selfish. Why?

Their pride includes you. Don’t ask why, it just does.

Not that you’re a fallen angel deserving their mercy, just to them you’re problems and needs aren’t so big, not so dire.

And they don’t make you feel like a weakling for buckling under the pressure.

That’s how it’s supposed to work no matter the affiliations.

Then there’s the other deal.

You go about your life, minding your own business, lending a hand when someone else’s business needs one, but generally tending to your own concerns.

That’s how you’ve always been.

You didn’t do high school sports because you had other interests, then you grew into the sort of body the grid iron was made for, big men bashing each other.

So you turn into a sports fan and demonstrate total recall of every high school football game your senior year. To the inevitable question of “Did you play” you shake your head in regret saying, “It was a different time.”

Life currents take you through college, a starter career, marriage, kids, houses, you know the drill. And you do it all with a sense of pride that shines like a game trophy and a juice box.

Along the way you’ve learned to parry and thrust like a sword fighter, to slide and stick the jab like a boxer. You know how to handle yourself.

Until now.

From your days as a Young Republican you followed the D.C. game, understood the rules. And you read books.

Only a President from Texas could force the sweeping changes of the Great Society without looking like a liberal, a socialist, like a lap dog to the underprivileged.


American liberalism was at high tide under President Johnson.

  • The Wilderness Protection Act saved 9.1 million acres of forestland from industrial development.
  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided major funding for American public schools.
  • The Voting Rights Act banned literacy tests and other discriminatory methods of denying suffrage to African Americans.
  • Medicare was created to offset the costs of health care for the nation’s elderly.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities used public money to fund artists and galleries.
  • The Immigration Act ended discriminatory quotas based on ethnic origin.
  • An Omnibus Housing Act provided funds to construct low-income housing.
  • Congress tightened pollution controls with stronger Air and Water Quality Acts.
  • Standards were raised for safety in consumer products.

Only a President who built his career on Red Baiting could travel to China without appearing like a fellow traveler.


Nixon seemed an unlikely candidate to thaw those chilly relations. During the 1940s and 1950s, he had been a vocal cold warrior and had condemned the Democratic administration of Harry S. Truman for “losing” China to the communists in 1949.


2017 spins faster and faster and every day you need your anti-nausea meds.

You voted for change and an old man took charge of the nation.

Old men everywhere share one common feeling: no matter the problems, they won’t be around to suffer the fallout.

You’d hope old women still carry that empathy bag fully loaded. Some do.

You’re shocked to see the old man you noted for installing other old men, cronies, proxies, yes-men, into positions of power.

Nothing unusual about it based on past history. Big campaign contributors want a return on their investment.

But it’s more than that. The pirate faces you see stepping up for a rubber stamp of approval at their confirmation hearings don’t look right.

You don’t want pirates running the show. Instead of anal-compulsive data nerds, the new administration leaders look like boardroom clubbers, where if you disagree you get the baby harp seal treatment.

Put your best foot forward is your life mantra. You expect others to do the same. That’s how pride works.

If other people you care about don’t know one foot from the other, you lend a hand.

That’s who you are, and it’s not difficult. You went to school, learned your lessons, and applied them to life experience.

Now within one year you heard a presidential candidate appeal to a class of people called ‘under educated.’

We all fit that description in some way, but connivers know how to work the sort of magic where under educated is a virtue.

The new president with the under educated base is expanding the idea to the under educated Secretary of Education.

Before you say ‘DUH’ is the new norm, check your personal pride.

When Oregon ranks toward the bottom of the nation in high school graduation, will pride be enough?

About David Gillaspie
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