Rod Miller: Barbarians At The Gate Or A New Dawn for Wyoming?

Columnist Rod Miller writes, "If the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, as they themselves predict, actually runs the table during next year’s election, what can we expect? Don’t laugh, it could happen."

Rod Miller

November 26, 20234 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It's always an iffy proposition to read political tea leaves or divine chicken entrails to predict the future, but here goes.

If the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, as they themselves predict, actually runs the table during next year’s election, what can we expect?

Don’t laugh, it could happen. 

Aside from a win or two in the last election, the Centrists in Wyoming politics don’t seem to be pushing back against this Red Tide very effectively, and the righties smell blood in the water. If the Freedom Caucus actually pulls off their putsch, the Centrists have only themselves to blame.

Don’t expect Wyoming’s Democrats to stand in the breach. They haven’t had that kind of muscle for a long time.

Alaric leading his Goths toward Rome may be instructive in this instance. The barbarian hordes had good reason to want to sock it to Rome after centuries under the yoke. The citizens of the Eternal City, trembling inside their walls, had good reason to tremble. 

They fretted about what these strange invaders would do when they breached the gates. So that begs the question, “What will the Freedom Caucus actually do if they grab the levers of power in the Cowboy State?”

What sort of a Wyoming can we expect then? Will your life as a Wyoming citizen change for the better, for the worse or not at all?

Freedom Caucus rhetoric seems to portend draconian changes in how we do things in the Big Empty. They appear to want to tear things down and rebuild them, leaving out the parts that contradict their populist, “conservative” and theocratic world view.

For instance, will responsibility for election security in Wyoming be stripped from our county clerks and given to the Republican Men’s Full Gospel Gun & Glee Club? Don’t laugh, it could happen.

Will out public schools no longer be centers of free inquiry and critical thought, but instead places where our young are indoctrinated into religious dogma, no different from Islamic madrassas?

In their zeal to establish a Christian state, will the Freedom Caucus tear the wall separating church and state in two, like the curtain in the Temple of Solomon? How far will they go to git ‘er done?

Will adherents to other faiths or non-believers be relegated to second-class citizenship like Untouchables? That would certainly make it easier for the Freedom Caucus to have their way.

Our Wyoming Constitution could simply be amended to read, “all pure Aryan Christians are equal.” Problem solved.

And books! Will we only have books to read that bear the Freedom Caucus imprimatur? Will Wyoming’s history be whitewashed to cancel out our warts, like the Johnson County War, the Chinese massacre in Rock Springs or the Black 14?

Will Wyoming schools, under Freedom Caucus control, teach that the American Civil War was about states’ rights and not human slavery?

What happens when our tried & true civil institutions stand between the Freedom Caucus and what they want? Pesky obstacles like the rule of law, citizen franchise, the Bill of Rights. Will those too be cast aside in favor of the Freedom Caucus world view?

And, if once in power and the populace turns against them, will the Freedom Caucus use the police powers of the state to stifle dissent and to maintain “law & order”?

My friend Dan Sabrosky, a stalwart voice for all things Freedom Caucus, recently said about the changes that they wants to initiate that, if they try to do it all at once, to rip the bandaid off quickly, it’ll frighten the horses and scare the kids. Dan is absolutely correct.

Murky political crystal balls aside, nobody really knows what will happen if the Freedom Caucus comes to power in Wyoming. They could be a flash in the pan, or they could be barbarians at the gate.

The only sure way to find out what they’ll do is to open the gate and let ‘em in. But that, to me at least, seems like a crap shoot.

Rod Miller can be reached at:

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Rod Miller

Political Columnist