The Tall Poppy Syndrome in Montana

The Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS), a metaphor for cutting down someone who towers above the rest so that all are similar in size, is relatively unknown in the United States. It is well recognized throughout many parts of the world. One of the reasons America might be spared of this syndrome is our embracement of the individual. Another might be that much of our working life is based on merit (meritocracy) as well as our leisure time which is spent in competitive sports endeavors.

Montana might seem to be one of the last places one might expect to find TPS since it is an agricultural state with many of Jefferson’s idealized individuals — the famers and ranchers — as well as some of the old West’s remnants of rugged individualism. Within the manner of a couple of weeks, I was able to find two examples of TPS in the local newspaper of one Montana town. In each instance, I sent a letter to the editor identifying the syndrome. Both are below; one in the printed version from the newspaper.

The Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) is a metaphor which symbolizes a poppy field with one poppy taller than the rest; other poppies want to “cut down” the tall poppy to their size to maintain uniformity. Although TPS is well known in other English speak countries, it is relatively unrecognized in America

Dr. Ronny Jackson, President Trump’s physician and and also director of the White House Medical Unit, was nominated by the President to be the Director of Veterans Affairs. Allegations surfaced that Dr. Jackson mistreated lower-ranking employees, drank excessively and handed out prescription drugs. The source, originally not disclosed, of these allegations was Dr. Jennifer Pena, Vice President Pence’s doctor, who was having a disagreement over some medical management issues with Dr. Jackson. Dr. Pena has resigned her post. The Defense Department ’s Office of the Inspector General is now evaluating the facts.

The senior Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Sen. John Tester of Montana, leaked the information which caused Dr. Johnson to withdraw from the nomination thereby cutting him down. President Trump, never one to let a good deed go unpunished, announced Sen. Tester would “have a big price to pay”. On July 29, President Trump will be in a rally at Great Falls. Will the President be a factor in cutting down Sen. Tester in his re-election bid for the Senate seat?

Grand Prismatic -Yellowstone National Park