Practicing Pissed Off as a Jump to No Judgment
“Wow I’m surprised that you’re from Texas,” people say. “You must be from Austin,” they continue. I’m fixin’ to get annoyed. “I hear it’s a blue dot in a sea of red.”  Now I am angry. But I bite my tongue and respond with friendly southern charm, “I really like all of Texas. Have you been there?”
Texas-hating is based on ignorance, like most prejudices. And like all prejudice, it pisses me off. Although there are exceptions, the vast majority of people who judge Texas haven’t spent much time here. A stopover in the Dallas Airport doesn’t count. All they seem to know are Rick Perry’s gaffes and that George W. Bush has a ranch here (he was born in Connecticut).
Sure, the state has some problems. I really dislike the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, or the abortion regulations that passed despite Wendy Davis’ best efforts. But before you bash something you know very little about, I suggest you spend some time chatting with people who live in the small towns around here and try to hold on to your Texas sized grudge.
I love this state. I love the people, the land—the variety and beauty of ecosystems, the attitude, the universities, the food and the history. I’m proud that the economy is strong. These things become quite obvious by spending just a little time around Texas.
On top of that, and aside from all that Austin offers, consider the following facts which counter most negative stereotypes:
Houston is the most populous U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor (three times in a row)—Annise Parker. Note that the population of Houston metro area is greater than all but 17 states, and that she recently married her long time partner.
Texas produces more wind energy than any other state (3x more than CA, whose population is 12 million more)
Small Town Art, Music, and Hippies
Even the small towns are full of art and music: Check out this NPR story about small town Marfa (population less than 2000), the Kerrville Folk Fest, Old Settler’s Music Fest, the Terlingua Chili Cookoff, and the Texas Rennaissance Festival. Texas also hosts the oldest and longest running Regional Burn (http://burningflipside.com/, a Burning Man like mini-festival.
There are drum jams, ecstatic dance, and conscious culture movements in every major town. For example, check out this monthly Dallas event.
The Conscious Capitalism movement was birthed here.
If you live in Austin and complain about the rest of Texas, check your attitude. You might find something you like outside of the city limits.
The larger point here is to actively question our assumptions, especially when they are negative and judgemental to another group of people. They could be small and relatively harmless like a state based prejudice, but we are still missing out on something that could potentially make us happier and healthier. I used to make fun of Minnesota until I started dating a girl from there; now I really like the state and have immensely enjoyed my time there, even in -29° weather.
Plus, by checking our assumptions around small things, we work out our muscles and are more easily able to release larger, more harmful prejudices. We build habits that keep us from alienating “the other” and remembering that we are all humans, imperfect, enjoyable and capable of immense suffering and immense love.
 What pisses me off about this is the assumption that “Blue,” ie Democrat, is better than Red, Republican. “All the parties are a little bit correct, and a little bit wrong. They have a little bit of the truth, but not all of it. We should look for more than two or three ways to view a problem, more than a few solutions, and create a synthesis of the best of all worlds.” For more, see It’s Not Too Late to Save America from the Scourge of Politics here.
Editor’s Note: DailyHap welcomes all political affiliations, please consider this an example and exercise without engaging in the political dichotomy.