Thirty years from now, if you are still alive, you will see a different Wyoming. And that is exactly how it should be.
The TikTok Generation will have their fingerprints all over the place we know as home. And there’s not a thing anyone can do about it. This is simply history working on us and again, it's exactly how it should be.
Yep, even here in Wyoming – the last bastion of The Way Things Used To Be – change will inexorably come. There will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, but it cannot be stopped. There will be apocalyptic predictions of doom, there will be paroxysms of resistance and flag-draped attempts to halt its march.
But change is coming, Wyoming. Deal with it.
The young generation alive today will enjoy, rightfully so, their ultimate triumph. They will outlive us old silverbacks and will craft a world for themselves, free of our preaching and nagging.
We will only fail them if we don’t pass along to them the love for this place that has sustained us. We fail them if we deny their right to change the place they live to suit themselves. By doing so, we would fail Wyoming, too.
But we would fail ourselves if we did not do our best to pass along to the next generations a few helpful hints about living in a place like Wyoming.
To live here means to have some very deep-seated notions about what it takes to spend a life as a citizen of Wyoming, lessons that were passed along to us by our forebears and reinforced by our own lives. Call these ideas political, spiritual, practical or whatever floats your boat, but they are common to all Wyomingites.
These truths are a lot simpler than most folks think. And they are the best tools that we can pass along to our young ‘uns to help them keep on singing Ragtime Cowboy Joe.
First off, we need to pass along to the TikTok Generation a profound respect for nature. They need to have a sure and certain knowledge that this place will kill you if you are careless. And that survival often means relying on your neighbors.
We need to pass along to them a deep appreciation of the power of a free human mind. This is a necessary bulwark against subjugation by The Great Big Other. Snake oil sales go way down when people think for themselves.
If the TikTok Generation is destined to hold sway over the Equality State, they’ll do a better job if they embrace the Wyoming ideal that “all members of the human race are equal”, as our Constitution clearly says. Equal people make the best neighbors, and neighbors are singularly important here.
As for us long-in-the-tooth Boomers etc. of the older generation, we should try to avoid preaching to the sprouts that, if they don’t stop getting tattoos and listening to that hip-hop devil’s music, they’ll be responsible for the death of Western Civilization.
We should stop trying to ban or cancel changes we see coming just because those changes give us the vapors and frighten the horses. That’s like screeching at the wind to make it stop.
Yep, friends and neighbors, change is coming – as it always does – and we humans have always been powerless to stop change.
As long as the TikTok Generation keeps our graves tended and free of weeds, we shouldn’t care what kind of world they make for themselves. They are, after all, just younger versions of ourselves.
Rod Miller can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org