By Landon Brown, guest columnist
Brown represents District 9 in the Wyoming House of Representatives
When I ran for office in 2016, it was a different time politically. In only 6 years, the landscape of politics has changed dramatically. We, collectively as a society, have changed what we want/seek in politicians. It has raised the question in my head, what do we want from a politician?
I can almost be certain there isn’t a single individual in an elected position in this state that would say they are doing the job they are in because of the money.
First and foremost, Wyoming has done an amazing job at keeping politicians in check with a system that promotes service above self, even in our highest-ranking positions, i.e. governorship, county sheriff, or even the legislature.
Do we want politicians that work for even less than we pay now? Should we reduce the pay, as I have heard many times regarding these positions, to something even lower than they make now? Would that attract the right type of individual to run for these offices?
I would posit that this would allow only those who are independently wealthy to run for office, and thus creating a large distrust in government – even more than we have today.
How about a politician that “rides for the brand”, only that brand is simply the brand of a Republican or Democrat (we also have other parties)?
Would this serve our desires to only want those candidates that agree with their party platforms and planks 80-100% of the time? Where is the room for dissension? Is that the definition of an echo chamber? What if we elected based on character and ability to speak their minds without fear of repercussions from the party?
It is my understanding of the Wyoming and United States Constitution that the people dictate those that represent them, not the party system and their planks or platforms. If we had more politicians willing to stand up and dissent with their party on individual topics, we may be able to have more valuable discussions on ways to solve problems instead of simple name calling and blaming.
Would you prefer a politician that speaks the truth or one that tells you what you want to hear? Some would say they want both and that would be great in a utopian world, but in our world today, most people want the truth told to them. In today’s politics, many would rather have someone that says the right words and stands behind the veil of a party platform for protection.
Our currently political system is getting harder and harder to find qualified and well-intentioned people to run for office because of these (and a many additional) issues.
Think to yourself: Would I want to wake up to emails, texts, calls, voicemails etc… on a daily basis, blaming, chastising, arguing, fighting, threatening, or complaining with no solution other than you don’t vote the way I want you to?
How about the name calling that has started from the Republican Party itself – calling RINO (Republican in Name Only) to anyone who dares have a differing opinion than they do at that level.
Personally, I don’t see any of those that are labeled as RINOs going out and blaming our problems on them or others that they disagree with. What I see is differing levels of opinion and the ability and willingness to discuss our differences – something we should ALL aspire to do more often.
Our political system isn’t perfect, it never will be, and we can’t simply divide and conquer. We are so divided as a nation, state, and even locally, that it won’t take too much work to start having productive conversations rather than blaming others for all our misfortunes.
Wyoming still is what America was in many ways, but unfortunately, we are falling victim to outside influence, partisan attacks, and internal degradation. We all need to do better and realize that politicians put their lives in the public eye, are willing to take the heat for things that they may or may not have direct control over and are putting service to their respective office above their own gain.
The next time you want to disagree, do it decently. The next time you want to ridicule or degrade a politician – ask yourself if you would want the same done to you. Wyoming is better than what we’ve seen lately, let’s do our best to fixing it one person (yourself) at a time.