Rod Miller: Transparency and Political Courage in the Cowboy State

Columnist Rod Miller writes, "When it comes to the political courage to back up their hot air, WyoRINO is woefully lacking. I suppose that, if you lack cojones, you are better off concealing your cowardice behind a cloak of anonymity."

Rod Miller

September 10, 20234 min read

Rod miller headshot scaled
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

I’ve been invited, cajoled or shanghaied into emceeing a Natrona County GOP party on September 14 in Casper. The invisible puppet-master pulling the strings behind the screen has also been invited to the shindig to rip off that mask and identify themselves to all the cowgirls and cowboys.

This event will be an exercise in transparency.

I think most of us would consider “transparency” to apply to the byzantine workings of government. I partially agree. I believe that, in a healthy democratic republic, citizens should always know more about their government than their government knows about them. Secrets are caustic to good governance.

But the sharp sword of transparency cuts a bit wider swath than just government, and should also apply to all of the public’s business conducted in the public square. Nobody should be comfortable with dark, secret anonymous players monkeying around in our body politic.

That is precisely what is and does. They’re the secret outfit that rates legislators’ performance by grading a handful of votes each session. Then they plaster those results on billboards and on mailers delivered to your mailbox.

They demand your attention but you have no idea who they are! 

They keep their identify and where they get their money secret. They shun the good, healthy Wyoming sunshine. They keep to the shadows.

I really doubt that WyoRINO nudges the political needle one way or another in Wyoming, for all their hysterics. But they sure make a lot of noise and whine every chance they get.

A healthy dose of mistrust and skepticism is warranted when someone wants to do the public’s work in secret, out of the public’s eye. How can they be trusted to have the public’s best interest, and not some hidden agenda of their own, uppermost in mind?

Then there’s courage to consider. 

Wyoming is a state where handshakes are firm and we still look each other in the eye. Wyomingites take pride in their work. When we have deep convictions, we are not afraid to claim them as our own.

We stand up in front of our neighbors with courage in those convictions and say what we mean.

That courage is woven into the fabric of the Code of the West. Without it, we really can’t do the other stuff. And we don’t suffer cowardice lightly.

When it comes to the political courage to back up their hot air, WyoRINO is woefully lacking. I suppose that, if you lack cojones, you are better off concealing your cowardice behind a cloak of anonymity. So, there’s that.

I really hope that WyoRINO rises to the bait and shows up at the event on the 14th. I hope whomever it is has the courage to stand up on their hind legs and talk to their neighbors. I can almost guarantee that it’ll be a lot of fun.

If they do, and they remove that dark mask, I doubt we’ll see a star-spangled, screaming-eagle MAGA action hero. I rather expect to see what Dorothy and Toto saw when they pulled back the curtain in Oz. Smoke and mirrors.

If WyoRINO shows up, then I’ll have plenty of column fodder for next week. I hope that happens. 

If they don’t show up, I can always hunker down around the ol’ campfire again and bring you some cowboy stories.

And if WyoRINO lacks the transparency and courage to come out into the sunshine, then the next time you see one of their billboards or get a smarmy mailer, all you need to do is consider the source.

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Rod Miller

Political Columnist