April 26, 2014

Texas psychology: inferiority complex and 5 states of grieving

Political pundit and analyst Jim Moore has written about how Texans, as a generalization, have some degree of inferiority complex. He says it largely relates to Texas’ early Anglo history — a state that was broke in its years as a separate republic, a state with its fair share (for Anglos, of course) of Indian troubles, and more.

That said, I think much of this cuts both ways. That, in turn is part of why I came up with the nickname of Pointy Abandoned Object State as a riff on Lone Star State.

Beyond that, covering an inferiority complex with a superiority complex? It’s been 175 years since Anglo Texas got its independence from Mexico and 150 since the end of the Civil War. It’s been 125 years or more since the last Indian battle in the state.

Hence my header. I relate this to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grieving, as overrated, and as sometimes outrightly wrong, as the concept is.

For the unfamiliar, this is the old Denial-Anger-Bargaining-Depression-Acceptance program. And I argue that battling an inferiority complex with a superiority complex is denial, or at best, somewhere between denial and anger. That’s not to say that it was understandable … 100 years ago.

But, it’s time to move on. Since that was 100 years or more ago, Texans have no room to bargain. What’s needed is to be honest about what’s good with the state, honest about what’s not good, and honest about how hard it will be to fix some of the not good.

So, per Jim Moore, the majority of Texans who have an inferiority complex couched in a superiority complex, otherwise known as Texas exceptionalism, need to stop denying that, stop being angry over the long-ago actual incidents of inferiority, and stop bargaining for a change in history that can’t happen.

Be depressed. Be depressed that the official Texas state shit does indeed stink at times.

And then we’re on to acceptance. Accept that Texas has an abundance of solar energy, even if the state has done little to harness it, unlike wind energy. Accept that, if water problems are adequately managed, that Texas still has a strong agricultural future. Accept the degree of multiculturalism and ethnic diversity in Texas’ main cities.

Accept that we have Republicans who might want to undercut wind energy, even, if it grows stronger. Accept that political leaders of both parties gave us a smoke-and-mirrors water projects funding mechanism. Accept that even a lot of Democrats don't truly grasp how much anthropogenic climate change may change the state. Accept that a lot of Republicans hate multiculturalism. Accept that a lot of Democrats still can't do well in getting the Hispanic portion of that multicultural state out to vote.

But, back to the first paragraph. Accept that Texas has no need to boast. To riff on Teddy Roosevelt, Texans, speak softly and act naturally. (And, no, "Texas exceptionalism" boasting is not genetically natural.)

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