Matt Micheli: Wyoming Needs Solutions, Not Anger

Guest columnist Matt Micheli writes: "The alt-right mentality is a growing cancer in our state that is something all well-intended citizens of Wyoming should affirmatively work to extinguish."

Annaliese Wiederspahn

October 08, 20206 min read

Micheli head
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Matt Micheli, guest columnist
Former Chairman, Wyoming Republican Party

Last month I published an op-ed about the “alt-right” in Wyoming. I went to great lengths to explain that when I refer to the Wyoming alt-right, I am talking about people who focus primarily on anger, fear and division in political discourse.

I also made clear that this designation was not to any specific person or even groups of people but describes a mindset that can at different times apply to every single one of us. Indeed, my final paragraph read:

All of us can fall into the “alt-right” at different times. All of us are susceptible to be motivated by fear. All of us tend to believe things that fit our preconceived internal narrative.

The only way we overcome the influence of the alt-right is to continually ask ourselves if we are feeding the divide or if we are working towards solutions.

Whether we are giving into fear or actively working to improve our state. Whether we are listening to all voices critically to find the best ideas or shouting down anyone that dares think differently than us.

I am not asking anyone to compromise their political philosophies and ideals. That is the opposite of what I am talking about. Apply those ideals to our real problems and work towards a solution.

The alt-right mentality is a growing cancer in our state that is something all well-intended citizens of Wyoming should affirmatively work to extinguish.

That is it. That was the entire point of my op-ed. Politics based on fear and anger will not solve Wyoming’s $1.5 billion deficit.

Politics based on fear and anger will not keep our schools open or prevent us from seeing our taxes skyrocket.

The only way we avoid those types of outcomes is by rolling up our sleeves and working towards actual solutions.  Solutions – that is the point.  What solves problems?  How do we get beyond just anger and more anger, and more ugly political bullying?

Perhaps the most interesting part of my previous op-ed were the reactions from different people. The vast majority of the responses have been overwhelmingly positive.

I truly believe most people are good and most people want solutions for Wyoming. They want to be a part of keeping Wyoming’s conservative values strong BY PARTICIPATING in ideas for solutions to this state’s many challenges. 

However, if you read that op-ed and thought it was about somebody else, you completely missed the point. Also, if reading a political op-ed that called for all of us to work personally to stay away from insults and be more solution minded offended you, maybe you need to look yourself in the mirror.  

Each one of us needs to look at ourselves and make our own personal assessment. Are we just the angry bystander, or are we really going to step up and show our best ideas for a solution – civilly. 

The op-ed was not meant to point the finger at “those guys,” but was meant to point the finger at each of us, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.

My favorite response, however, came from the out-of-state group that thrives on hate and division more than any other entity in Wyoming.

The Dorr brothers from Minnesota and Iowa have created an entity known as “Wyoming Gun Owners” (WyGO).

Using this entity, and similar entities in multiple states, the Dorr brothers have made a nice living by importing hate to those states.

That is why the NRA called them scam artists and why the Minnesota Republican Party dedicated a whole web page to exposing their scams (   

Read it. Google them. You will see their money scheme profiting off of division, fear and hate. 

Unfortunately, they have chosen to include Wyoming in their hate campaign.

Their response to my op-ed was a Facebook post saying “Matt Micheli… was and is a loser.” Awesome!

Then, they set about calling me all sorts of names contending I am a “liberal RINO,” which is hilarious.

This post and the related string of hate posts and the organized campaign from their out of state social media people, however, demonstrates my point exactly.

Ironically, the people behind WyGO could not care less about Wyoming.

Their kids don’t go to school here, they are never going to pay Wyoming taxes. They probably don’t even know what “Steamboat” is.

They care about one thing – creating controversy. Controversy gets people riled up and that means more money in their pockets. That is why they attack some of the most pro-gun legislators.

That is why when Ember Oakley, a strong conservative, pro-Trump, pro-gun, Republican county prosecutor comes to Cheyenne to fix significant problems with draft gun legislation and her work was instrumental in getting that legislation in a form that it could actually become law, WyGO makes up a fake controversy to attack Ember.

WyGO cares far more about controversy than Wyoming. That is precisely what I am talking about when I say the alt-right. Anger. Vitriol.  No responsibility because they are not Wyoming in the first place. 

I want all Wyoming voices to participate. I want Wyoming conservatives to engage in the debate.

I really want Wyoming conservatives to work on things that will actually help solve our fiscal crisis. Calling me a “loser” and a “RINO” is certainly not going to make sure Wyoming never gets an income tax.

Calling me names is not going to resolve our $1.5 billion deficit. But hey, profit off of attacking conservatives all you want, you are only proving my point.  

Meanwhile, we in Wyoming see through your scams. I have great confidence in the people of Wyoming to figure out solutions to our problems without interference from interlopers.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter