Rod Miller: Stay Square, Wyoming!

Columnist Rod Miller writes, "If Wyoming annexed a neighboring county, we’d just look weird. Viewed from above, it would look like we had suddenly grown a disturbing new appendage, or a tumor. Or a massive new zit."

Rod Miller

June 18, 20233 min read

Rod miller headshot scaled

There’s a recent trend in western states of disgruntled counties wanting to secede from their home state and attach themselves to a more conservative neighbor. Wyoming needs to prepare itself to prevent this from happening in the Big Empty.

Here are some recent examples. 

The pot-growing MAGA loggers in the northernmost counties of California want to detach themselves from the Golden State and become the newest counties in Oregon. They want to get as far away as possible from the uber-liberal Assembly in Sacramento and all the gay beatnik craziness in San Francisco.

Their reasoning is common to secessionist counties elsewhere in the West. The seat of state government is just too far away from the county courthouse to understand local problems and offer effective governance. Besides, all of the bureaucrats in the capitol city are Maoist elite weirdos.

Northern Great Basin ranchers in the rain shadow counties of eastern Oregon want to split off and join Idaho for the same reasons. Local custom and culture doesn’t dovetail with the spineless hippies in Salem who have allowed Portland to be invaded by unwashed masses who shit in the street.

And the Aryan evangelists in northern Idaho want to leave and go anywhere else because they don’t like anybody. Not to mention that they believe their kids are turning into Satanists by watching football played on a blue field in Boise.

It's like a strange game of political and jurisdictional musical chairs.

Wyoming is not immune. Weld County wants to leave Colorado and attach itself to our southern border, I guess because they’d feel more “at home” here. They believe that government in Denver wants to take their assault weapons and force them to live on magic mushrooms. Who can blame them?

But that would be a tragedy for Wyoming. Our Cowboy Founders bequeathed us a symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing and geometrically perfect square border and we should resist screwing it up.

We have straight walls and tidy corners that are easy to sweep out. 

If Wyoming annexed a neighboring county, we’d just look weird. Viewed from above, it would look like we had suddenly grown a disturbing new appendage, or a tumor. Or a massive new zit.

Within our neat borders, we already have a pretty balanced equilibrium between hipsters and rednecks, and we’d only skew our own demographics if we adopted another state’s problem children.

When I first went to work for Gov. Ed Herschler, the Panhandle of Nebraska was lobbying hard to join Wyoming. And the idea made some sense. The ranchers there were a time zone away from the seat of government in Lincoln.

And those sandhills in Cherry County, Nebraska are the finest grazing country on the planet. Legitimate four-and-a-half pound of gain a day grass for hungry steers. Wyoming cows stare across our eastern border and salivate.

Herschler, as I recall, negotiated with the Panhandle counties over voting districts, taxation and other government minutiae for awhile. But ultimately, in that big ol’ Brown & Gold heart of his, I think he realized the damage he would do to our symmetrical outline if he let things go too far.

So, he introduced a poison pill. He told the county commissioners in the Panhandle that he’d be delighted to have them join Wyoming, but only if they brought the Cornhusker football team with them. With a stroke of his pen, Gov Ed kept our border secure.

Say it with me...Stay Square, Wyoming!

Share this article



Rod Miller

Political Columnist