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Rod Miller

Rod Miller: Legislators Should Quit Wasting Our Time With Worthless Federal Land Bills

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By Rod Miller, columnist

They’re at it again! A bill, HB141, has been filed in the Wyoming legislature, intending to force the U.S. government to relinquish claim to federal lands in Wyoming.

This is the umpteenth time that this nonsense has raised its empty head. Past attempts have met with abject failure, and things won’t be a bit different this time.

We’ve all heard the indelicate expression, “Wish in one hand, defecate in the other and see which one fills up first.”

Permit me to spare the sponsors and supporters of this bill an embarrassingly fragrant and certain outcome. Wishing against reality is a futile exercise, so keep your hands in your pockets.

This feckless notion has been around a long time, since well before the Sagebrush Rebellion under Reagan.

It always fails to do anything but give boneheaded politicians a chance to strut around, pound their chests and cuss the feds. Sure, as a political move, its great theater and appeals to a certain base. But in the harsh reality of the world of law, its a waste of time.

Here’s why. The State of Wyoming’s sovereignty documents, our Constitution and Act of Admission, clearly say that Wyoming permanently forswears any claim to federal lands within our borders, other than those lands already granted for the benefit of our common institutions. Wyoming’s founders and Congress left a paper trail that bodes ill for HB141.

To wit: Article 21, Section 26 of the Wyoming Constitution, “. The people inhabiting this state do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof…”.

And Section 12 of Wyoming’s Act of Admission, “The state of Wyoming shall not be entitled to any further or other grants of land for any purpose than as expressly provided in this act; and the lands granted by this section shall be held, appropriated, and disposed of exclusively for the purposes herein mentioned, in such manner as the legislature of the state may provide.”

So, to the sponsors of HB141 and to anyone who salivates over the prospect, I’ll suggest that they forget their pie-in-the-sky dreams of a Wyoming without federal land ownership.

Stop counting all the money that will never accrue to our coffers when we pull off this land grab. Give up any notion that your wishes trump the wisdom of Wyoming’s founders. Quit beating this poor, dead horse.

There are other valid arguments against transferring federal land to Wyoming. Such a move would extinguish our great public lands culture of hunting, fishing and recreating on federal land. That culture is part and parcel of our self-identity as Wyomingites, and if it were to disappear, we would be diminished.

If federal land was transferred to the state and then subsequently sold to improve Wyoming’s fiscal situation, we would encounter barbwire fences where we once found open land as the new owners enclosed their own little bit o’ heaven. We would sacrifice our independence to our bottom line, and that’s not a bargain I’m willing to make.

But in the clear, harsh light of the law, Wyoming can NOT legally take ownership of federal land within our borders, no matter how fervently sponsors of this bill wish otherwise.

So, I guess my advice to those legislators would be to enjoy the cheap headlines while you can, suck up all the beer folks will buy you for being a hardass fed basher, and score political points while the issue is hot. Then get back to your desks and do the real work that your constituents expect of you. Ride for the Brand, dammit!

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Rod Miller: I Am Nate Champion

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By Rod Miller, columnist

There is no more fitting allegory for Wyoming and her history than the Johnson County War. If there is one event that should instruct us as Wyomingites, it is that conflict. And yet, we have ignored that lesson for nearly a hundred and thirty years. We continue to ignore it today.

In 1892, bigshot cattlemen, mostly from Great Britain and backed by east-coast and foreign capital, sought to drive small homesteaders and ranchers out of Wyoming. They wanted all the grass and water to themselves, even though it was public domain.

To this end, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, representing that foreign money, hired fifty or so mercenary thugs from Texas to invade Johnson County. The invaders carried with them a hit list of names of small ranchers that were to be killed “for the good of the country”. They also intended to assassinate elected officials in Johnson County and to establish a county government more favorable to their interests.

Maybe we’ll talk more about Nate Champion later. But suffice it to say that he almost single handedly prevented the Stock Growers and their gunslingers from accomplishing their goals. That is why, in my presence, hats will be doffed when Champion’s name is mentioned.

“Invasion” is an apt term for what happened then, and it also applies today when Wyoming invites foreign capital to usurp our resources and control our lives. From the Union Pacific, through the cattle boom, the oil boom, the uranium boom and the coal boom, Wyoming has been content to allow ourselves to be colonized by outside interests.

Why we continue to describe ourselves as ruggedly independent, while kow-towing to outside money, is an unfathomable mystery to me.

Two of our founders, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, presented diametrically different views of how our new country should look. Jefferson favored a country populated by the “yeoman farmer”, a man and his family supporting themselves by the sweat of their brow and their individual initiative. Hamilton’s vision was a country expanding through corporate debt, foreign capital and strong central banking.

In Wyoming, we pay constant lip service to Jefferson, but enthusiastically embrace Hamilton. That’s how we ended up where we are today.

When we are faced, like we are now, with the decline of an industry that has kept us afloat, we look around for replacement industry to come in and save us. We cast about for an Elon Musk, or a bicoin mogul to ride in like a white knight to pull our chestnuts our of the fire; to pave our roads and to educate out kids. We always look outward, instead of inward, for our salvation.

“Rugged individuals”, my Aunt Fanny!! Hamilton must be so proud of us.

If we can break this cycle of depending on outsiders, then we can, with a straight face, call ourselves the “Cowboy State”. If we can find within ourselves the initiative and courage to try new things, to invent, to risk, to stand up on our own hind legs and take control of our future on our own terms, then we will make of ourselves Jeffersonian yeomen, rather than Hamiltonian serfs.

Such a sea change in our collective attitude won’t be easy. We’ll have to overcome more then a century of being babysat. There will be no guarantees of success. But there will be pride in it, and a justifiable pride. If we can do it together, and pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, and grip the reins in our own sweaty and calloused hands, then outside corporate interests will think twice before trying to take advantage of us ever again.

And we can all proclaim, with a loud and collective voice, shouted into that big, blue sky over Wyoming, “I am Nate Champion”.

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Rod Miller: In Praise of Whistleblowers

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By Rod Miller, columnist

Any large, modern and complex organization – be it government, religion, corporation or any other institution – operates under a contradiction. They rely upon the support and acquiescence of individuals in order to perform, and they also thrive on keeping secrets from individuals.

The secret acts of institutions are intended to further the aims of that institution, not to better the lives of people. Knowledge of that fact needs to be kept from the individual for the safety and well-being of the organization.

When a courageous individual, through a crisis of conscience, reveals to the world the inner workings of a government, religion or corporation, that person is labeled a whistleblower and is immediately accused by the organization of treachery.

That person gets a bullseye on their back for doing nothing other than speaking the truth.

Lets draw a clear distinction here between treason and whistleblowing, because that distinction is often blurred by the accusing organization.

Nobody can support or condone someone giving sensitive military secrets to an enemy that is armed and ready to harm the United States. Behavior like that deserves sanction and punishment.

But treason is materially different than, lets say, a whistleblower in a major tobacco company publishing scientific information that dispels Big Tobacco’s myth that cigarettes really aren’t all that harmful to you.

Do you see the difference? A traitor’s actions cause people to die, a whistleblowing tobacco executive’s actions prevent people from dying.

Mark Felt, whom you may know by the moniker Deep Throat, was a former FBI Deputy Director and whistleblower par excellence.

Moved by patriotism, he helped expose corruption in the Oval Office that eventually brought Nixon down. People went to jail, but nobody was killed. For that, he deserves praise. Our country is better for his courage.

There are others; Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Frank Serpico and many more. Each had the personal bravery to expose wrong-doing in their organizations, and each suffered the wrath of those organizations.

They put their financial, professional and personal lives at risk to tell the truth. Sort of like pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, if that rings a bell for you.

Chiseled into stone over the entrance to CIA headquarters is John 8:32, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”; the words of Jesus, another whistleblower who spoke the truth about the world around him and suffered for speaking.

Why do governments, religions and corporations fear the truth that much?

I think the answer is fear. Large, impersonal organizations fear the individual.

They realize that they can do what they want only when a mass of people are ignorant of what that organization is doing to them. When an individual moves to free others by speaking truth to power, then power feels fearful and goes on the defensive.

Secrecy has a very limited place in our civic life, and when it is needed, it has to be justified on the basis of doing good for the individuals affected. That should be a very high bar, indeed. Its not good enough for an organization to tell us, “You don’t need to know. Just trust us.”

That’s why we, as citizens, need to be very skeptical of secrecy within our common institutions. We need to respect the individual over the organization. Its also why we should hold whistleblowers in high regard and praise them instead of punishing them for speaking the truth

What does that have to do with Wyoming? Each of us has to decide that for ourselves. But its certainly something to keep in mind if a political party that purports to represent you demands that you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before it lets you participate in your own political life.. Selah.

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Rod Miller: The Brand New Party

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By Rod Miller, columnist

If not for Abraham Lincoln, Horace Greeley and Emily Dickinson’s dad, I would be a Whig today. So would you, if you are a Republican.

In 1854, those men and others birthed the Republican Party because they could not, in good conscience, remain Whigs due to the issue of slavery in the western states.

They probably got hate mail calling them WINOs, Whigs In Name Only.

Nevertheless, within only six years of their forming a new party, their candidate was elected president – the aforementioned Lincoln. Six years! So don’t tell me that a new political party must wait decades to ascend to power.

The lesson here is that, in our American political system, partisanship is fluid and malleable. Its left up to the individual citizen to align with whatever party he or she chooses. If no party offers what a citizen seeks, then they are free to start their own political party. Our Constitution leaves that choice up to us, because the words “political party” are absent in that seminal document.

Political parties are created, live, die, morph and split depending on the whims of the citizens. To paraphrase Jefferson, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots, tyrants and political parties. It is nature’s manure.”

That’s why I chuckle inwardly when I hear any political party claim that they represent “timeless principles.”

The Republican Party finds itself precisely in that situation. An internal schism is rending the party asunder, as elements within it adopt a populist, nationalistic and divisive ethos that is in direct opposition to the history of the GOP. All this because Donald Trump chose to run for office as a Republican.

Trumpism, or whatever its called, is cleaving the Grand Old Party asunder while it attempts to re-define the term “conservative”. Demagoguery is bastardizing the bedrock or the Republican Party and, if left unchecked, will rot the party from within and leave a clear road for the opposition.

That disturbing sound you are now hearing is past bulwarks of the GOP like Lincoln, Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan – and, in Wyoming, Warren, Hansen and Hathaway – rolling in their graves. They, like too few Republicans of today, recognize political bullshit when they see it.

So, what is the party to do? I think the answer is clear, we Republicans must show the knuckleheads the door. We need to encourage the dissident Trumpists to form their own political party. There is already ample talk nationally about doing just that, and I think its a great idea!

And it would be in their own best interests, too. By forming a new political party, the Trump acolytes would protect themselves from criticism from the center, and would unleash themselves to spout whatever nonsense that came into their heads.

Hell, they could even advocate for slavery in the western states because they would no longer be shackled by the history of the GOP. They could come out of the closet and finally be themselves.

This new party would be free to develop a platform that included all the Q Anon, Boogaloo, Oath-Keeping, Proud Boy nonsense that tickles their fancy. They could fight the good fight against Jewish space lasers and cannibalistic pedophile vampire pizza shops, They could attack the deep-state, Trilateral Commission, Club of Rome, globalist propaganda without worrying about people within their own party laughing at them.

And the name of the Republican Party would no longer have to be besmirched by their idiocy. Hell, they could even adopt as their logo a garish aloha shirt, instead of the old-school elephant.

They could call themselves the patriot party (small p p), the Cornerstone Party (after the famous speech by Alexander Stephens that they all memorize), the MAGA Party (self-explanatory) or anything else they choose. They could call themselves the Know-Nothings, but would probably bump up against a copyright infringement issue.

At least they wouldn’t call themselves Republicans any longer. And they can count on me to chip in a few bucks for the filing fees for their new party.

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Rod Miller: The Conservative Independent Republic of Wyoming

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By Rod Miller, columnist

It has been a year and a half since the State of Wyoming declared its independence and seceded from the United States. Rebels, led by the MAGA activist wing of the Wyoming Republican Party, seized the capitol in Cheyenne in early 2022 and declared Wyoming an independent republic.

The Articles of Secession proclaimed that “The State Formerly Known as Wyoming is now an independent republic governed solely by the laws of God and the Code of the West. Deal with it, snowflakes.”

Hangovers from the secession party had scarcely healed before the federal government closed all transportation routes into or out of Wyoming. Interstate power grids were seized and re-routed around the borders of the new republic and things got cold and dark in a hurry.

Cell phones and the internet ceased to work because of the blockade, and refineries shut down. In a candle-lit room in the capitol, the rebel leaders were discussing how to deal with this unexpected turn of events, when a shout was heard from the dark corridor, “They’re coming!”

Federalized National Guard troops and units of the 101st Airborne poured into Cheyenne to reclaim not just the city, but F.E. Warren Air Force Base and the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Some bureaucrat in the D.C. swamp apparently thought that it would be a bad idea to leave those assets in the hands of a redneck militia.

Out-manned and out-gunned, the rebels beat a disorganized retreat out of town, burning up what little gasoline they had left for their camouflaged SUVs. The first night’s bivouac in the rocks around Vedauwoo was a dispirited affair. The rebels didn’t anticipate this level of disrespect.

As it turned out, Meal Team Six and the rest of the middle-aged, overweight militia proved to be no match for the United States military, despite their store-bought tactical duds and their patriotic zeal.

Over the next few months, the rebels skulked around the Cowboy State trying to enlist new recruits. They had to travel on dirt roads, using fuel that they siphoned from school buses.

Fully expecting support from the populace, they held rallies in dark towns and expounded their secessionist doctrine. At first, they met a bit of acceptance in places like Dubois and Bill, but eventually all they encountered were hungry people sick and tired of eating prairie dogs and sugar beets.

“When will you bring us food and beer?”, the people shouted at them. “When will you get Facebook working again?” Handing out free copies of “The Collected Wisdom of Matt Gaetz” did nothing to mollify the crowds.

And the crowds grew decidedly smaller with time as the new republic leaked citizenry into adjoining states where things were more….normal, where kids could go to school and the bars were open.

It all started innocently enough, with the Wyoming GOP working hard to purge itself of any heresy that used the word “democracy” instead of “republic”, or espoused any form of society that wasn’t based upon rugged individualism. The populist message was well received. That is, until the takeover, and the subsequent empty grocery shelves.

Now the rebels were hounded by real soldiers into smaller and smaller pockets of rocks and trees. They huddled around their small campfires in tattered camo and tried to remember the words to “Ragtime Cowboy Joe”. Above them circled drones with infared sensors and armed with Hellfire missiles that knew just where they were.

In a last, desperate attempt to save themselves, the rebels broke into a department store in Rawlins and stole a couple of racks of cute summer dresses so that they could escape the federal blockade and make their way to safety disguised as women. Just like Jefferson Davis did.

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Rod Miller: Eathorne Should Move To Texas

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By Rod Miller, columnist

I was born and raised in a part of Wyoming that was once Texas. Look it up! Between 1836 and 1846, the Republic of Texas included a thin strip of land that extended northward into what is now Wyoming, ending somewhere near the Goose Egg and enclosing what became the ID Ranch.

After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Texas relinquished any land they held outside their current borders in order to enter the union as the State of Texas. By so doing, Texas gave up the best rattlesnake habitat on the planet and blessed my family and me with life in Wyoming.

I lived and worked in Texas for a number of years, managing ranches and buying land for the Nature Conservancy. Folks in the Lone Star State are suspicious of newcomers and it can take five or six generations to get on a Christmas card list down there.

So, I kept a map of the Republic handy to confirm my bona fides when I spoke to a group of those crusty old Texas ranchers. I’d simply point to the map and tell everyone in the room that I was just a boy from the Panhandle. It broke some serious ice.

There is a lot I like about Texas: the expanse of the place, its bedrock conservatism, barbecue in the Hill Country, the firm handshakes, fishing the coast, Townes Van Zandtk’s music and Hancock quarter horses from the Four Sixes. But I’m glad the Texians gave up their claim to my part of Wyoming. I like Wyoming better.

So, I was very disturbed to hear a Steve Bannon podcast recently that featured Frank Eathorne, Chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party clutching his pearls over the current political upheaval in the nation, whining about Rep. Liz Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump, bemoaning the death throes of MAGA and expressing interest in rumblings coming out of Texas that the state is considering secession.

Eathorne told Bannon straight out that, during this political turmoil, his eyes are on Texas and secession.

WTF!!!!

Whether or not Texas can legally secede from the Union (and that is a BIG legal question, despite their unique sovereignty documents) why is the leader of Wyoming’s dominant political party, even in his darkest moments, considering secession from the Union?

This is a question that every citizen in Wyoming should direct at Eathorne. Does he believe that all of the political and civic institutions that have bound our country together for 250 years have suddenly failed, and that the only avenue left for Wyoming is to leave the Union like some petulant child that doesn’t get his way and wants to run away from home?

If Eathorne has forgotten what he has read about the Civil War, he should at least look closely at a few of Matthew Brady’s photographs of Antietam. If he is trying to move the Wyoming Republican Party toward secession, the Party needs to remove him from a leadership position. Shame on him!!

While Eathorne’s and Bannon’s eyes might be on Texas and rupturing the nation, Rep. Liz Cheney’s eyes are firmly upon Wyoming and the U.S. Constitution. Those two beta-men are going to have to deal with that if their fragile MAGA egos can handle political courage.

If Frank can’t handle that kind of political spine and respect for the U.S. Constitution, I have a suggest for him.

If the head of the Wyoming GOP is so enamored with Texas, I’ll gladly give him directions to the best barbecue in Luling, or the best music at Gruene Hall. I’ll even teach him the words to “The Eyes of Texas”. He should make that move, I think he’d fit right in.

Hell, I’ll even lend him my map of the Republic of Texas!

He can take his seditious sentiments south with him. As for Wyoming, we are all better off with Liz Cheney’s eyes on us.

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Rod Miller: DC Riots, American Crisis Number _________

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By Rod Miller, columnist

As soon as I heard that Rep. Liz Cheney will vote to impeach Donald Trump, the opening lines of Thomas Paine’s “American Crisis ” came to mind:

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

The summer soldiers in the Wyoming Republican Party will, no doubt, come down on Liz like a sack of rattlesnakes for being among the first to break ranks with the GOP on impeachment. That she occupies such a lofty office in the House GOP hierarchy will make her own party’s criticism that much sharper.

But I want to be among the first to say how much I admire and respect her stance in this, the most important issue to come before her during her tenure in the House. Doing the right thing after an attempted coup will cost Liz dearly within her own party, some of whom support Trump inciting his minions to riot, but is a sublimely courageous act

Liz is showing us a bit about how old school she really is. This principled stand in support of “so celestial an article as freedom” is exactly what I would have expected if some of the grizzled old Republicans from Wyoming – the Al Simpsons, the Stan Hathaways and yes, the Dick Cheneys – had been in Liz’s current position.

I also fully expect Frank Eathorne and the radical right in the Wyoming GOP to spew their tired and acrid rhetoric her way, thumping their chests and squealing, “Commie, deep state, but the emails, MAGA, MAGA, MAGA”.

There are also probably some on the left who will criticize Liz for all the things she’s done to piss them off over the years, and won’t acknowledge her stand against Trump as anything other than posturing in order to advance in the Party. Those that can’t, with a true heart, applaud Cheney’s conscientious stand make of themselves sunshine patriots.

The republic is hungry for political courage these days. We wait, usually fecklessly, for our elected leaders to strengthen our public institutions and our democratic system, while everyone is trying to tear them down because some folks don’t get their way. When we need heroes and heroines, it seems like we only get snake oil selling charlatans with big mouths.

So, Liz…..good job, Cowgirl!

And if, down the line, Cheney’s courage results in advancement in the GOP, and a run for the White House in 2024, then so be it. Political courage should be rewarded, so that more folks in power will exhibit it.

But that’s all a ways off. Today, Representative Liz Cheney has put her shoulder to the wheel to make sure we get to that future with our country intact. She is helping us all emerge from this current American Crisis.

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Rod Miller: Polaroids and Sour Grapes

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By Rod Miller, columnist

We all carry, within our minds, a picture of what we want the world to be like. This image forms throughout our lives, based upon what we are taught and what we believe. By adulthood, it is pretty much ossified into something indelible, permanent, not subject to change.

That picture becomes a touchstone of life and assumes within us a place on our mental mantel right alongside religion, family, work and everything that we believe to be the foundation of life.

In fact, in times of uncertainty, that mental picture we have of what we want the world to be becomes the most important thing to us. We identify so strongly with that image that we, from time to time, become it. It becomes us.

When that happens, and we become invested in our own worldview to that extent, then we defend it as if we are defending our own person. Any event or any information that contradicts what we believe becomes a personal attack on us.

Faced with the dilemma of altering our personal picture of the world based upon outside evidence, or protecting a cherished belief system, humans generally defend their internal photography.

Nowhere is this dichotomy more evident than in our individual relationship with our own government. Politics is often the catalyst that causes our inner view of the world to obviate or override our ability to see things clearly.

Politics reinforces our ego-driven model of the world that says, “my ideas are right, and everyone else is wrong”.

When this happens, and we deny what is occurring around us in favor of that faded Polaroid we carry in our pockets, we deny ourselves a chance to learn and grow as humans. After all, why learn something new when you know everything already?

My good friends, we are fortunate enough to be Americans at this moment and to be presented with a rare opportunity to contrast our beloved internal image of the way we think things should be with the painful truth of the way things really are.

If we can’t handle that uncomfortable contradiction, then we might as well join those misguided knuckleheads who are storming the U.S. Capitol because they can’t accept reality.

Make no mistake, ever since democracy was invented, there have been losers. I’m sure that, when the Athenians voted with either black or white stones to go to war with Sparta, there were a handful of citizens who got their togas in a wad over the outcome.

The probably muttered to themselves, “But I’m right! I KNOW I’m right! And, oh by the way, where did all those black stones come from?”

If you lose and you are wrong, it doesn’t matter how loudly you proclaim your beliefs on the capitol steps, or what kind of flag you wave or hat you wear…that simply doesn’t alter reality.

It might make you feel better, and probably bolsters your own view of the world, but you still lost. Objective truth with prevail.

And to demonize elected officials who disagree with you, and to disparage the institutions that have kept our republic alive for a couple of centuries simply because your candidate didn’t win is the height of folly, both political and personal.

When a political party behaves this way, they do damage not only to themselves but also to the country and its citizens.

Don’t misunderstand, every citizen should have a deeply-held conviction about how our country should work.

Without that, we truly would be a nation of sheep.

But citizenship requires that our mental Polaroid of America must be subordinate to that of the entire populace. Without that, we truly would be a nation of criminals.

Rod Miller: Suspending Disbelief in the Cowboy State

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By Rod Miller, columnist

How’s this for a movie plot? Its been a couple of months since the presidential election, the votes have been counted and recounted.

Fifty or so lawsuits have been brought, challenging the results and they have all been thrown out.

States have certified the results, and the Electoral College has cast their votes.

All that is left is for Congress to rubber stamp the results, making Joe Biden president.

Cut to an interior shot of a Waffle House somewhere in Alabama during the lunch rush.

Someone drops a bowl of grits on the floor, and in the mess is a likeness of Donald Trump with the word “winner”. The crowd rushes out of the diner shrieking, “We need to tell the people!”

Next scene, in a dark cabin in northern Idaho, skinhead kids gasp and stare at the ouija board bearing the message, “4 More Years”.

Mom and Dad rush to Parler and NewsMax to get the word out to the faithful that God wants Trump to stay in the White House.

Then, a flashback to the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon in 1975, with the last of the American personnel boarding helicopters while the NVA occupies the city.

Over the roar of the chopper and the gunfire just outside the compound can be heard the lusty voices of the escaping yanquis singing, “We Are The Champions”.

This could be a political thriller of the first order, or it could be a Quixotic slapstick comedy about people who simply can’t get their minds wrapped around facts. I’m leaning toward the latter.

Suspending disbelief is a critical element of fiction.

A good story will lead the reader to ignore what he knows about the world, and will suck him into an alternate narrative.

That narrative, to be believed, must appeal to something other than the reader’s logic. Emotion has always been a good substitute.

So, for this movie to work, millions of folks must be convinced to accept an illogical hysteria over what their own eyes and ears are telling them.

They must be convinced that, despite all the functions of our political and legal institutions, they are right and the rest of the country is wrong simply because it feels that way.

Ordinarily, there would be some wise old father-figure of a county sheriff who would aw shucks the townspeople, and comfort them with “Y’all just go on about your business and don’t freak out, we got this handled.”

But in this case, we have the Wyoming Republican Party inciting the townsfolk to buy into the conspiracy theory, and telling everyone “Its time to FIGHT!”

The Wyoming GOP is like that wild-eyed town drunk who always moans about alien invaders and commies, wanting everyone to buy into his psychosis.

Frank Eathorne and the Wyoming GOP Central Committee are telling us to forget about what the facts say, and are trying to convince our congressional delegation to monkeywrench the election results simply because things didn’t turn out Frank’s way, and because someone’s spinster aunt in North Dakota had a dream about voting machines.

It will be instructive to see which way our delegations bends, either toward our Constitution or toward Aunt Fanny in Bismark.

If Frank and his pals in the Central Committee believe, in spite of all the investigations and court decisions to the contrary, that Trump actually won the election, then I have a good saddle horse that never bucks, a pen of primo calves, a pickup that’s never been stuck and the best cowdog in the world to sell them.

Gullibility this profound only comes around once in a blue moon and I want to get in on the gravy train.

I’ll use the money to buy a front row seat at the Academy Awards when the Wyoming Republican Party wins the Oscar for comedy in political theater.

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Rod Miller is a Republican, rancher, a former congressional candidate, and longtime political operative in the state of Wyoming.

Rod Miller: Blazing Saddles (or How Wyoming Deals With Racism in the 21st Century)

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By Rod Miller, Cowboy State Daily columnist

Wyoming has a racist past, there’s just no way around it. Historical examples are rife…don’t make me repeat them here. And, because Wyoming fetishizes its past (the good parts and the bad parts), its no wonder that systemic racism is an unresolved social issue in the Equality State.

You’ve all heard about Representative Cyrus Western’s response to the first black Sheriff in Albany County taking office. I won’t repeat that here, either.

What I’d like you to think about is the reaction statewide to this event. Social media is all a-tremble with folks calling for Western to resign, to be forced from office, to be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail or otherwise removed from public life. This vigilante mentality is also a relic from the part of Wyoming’s past that is unfortunate, to put if kindly.

There is simply no way to sugar-coat Western’s tweet, and paint it as humorous, satirical, misunderstood or anything other than what it was… the most boneheaded kind of move that a politician could make.

Regardless of what was in his heart or mind when he made the post – and only Western himself can know that – he screwed up bigtime. Lets get that said right up front, there is no way that anyone can defend his post as anything else.

From what we hear, Western has called Sheriff Appelhans to apologize personally, and we are given to believe that the two of them had a constructive conversation. That was an incredibly necessary first step, but should by no means be considered an end to the issue. Had there not been that reaching out,though, there would not be the opportunity that now presents itself.

Likewise, if Western’s detractors, whatever their motivations, are successful in driving him from office, then an important opportunity is also lost. Put another way, if political bloodlust wins, then Wyoming is denied a chance to grow.

What kind of legislature do you want? Do you want a body that universally accepts your world view and lives up to your personal standards? I don’t want to burst your bubble, but good luck with that.

Or do you want a legislature that reflects your own human frailties, but despite them, works hard on your behalf? Do you want a representative body of perfect human beings (and again, good luck) or would you accept a legislature composed of flawed humans who make mistakes, but ultimately learn and grow from those mistakes?

Are we, as citizens of Wyoming, so brittle in our thinking that, when an elected official (regardless of party) disappoints us, we haul out the guillotine? Do we have such low esteem for our democracy that we don’t trust elections to purge out the unworthy?

Western has apologized to the person he should have. But he has other work to do, and we should let him do it, subject to the will of voters in his district. And that work, because of his action, will be done under a statewide microscope, and rightly so.

At least two good outcomes present themselves, thanks to Sheriff Aaron Appelhans and Representative Cyrus Western. The first would be an honest, statewide conversation about racism in Wyoming, led by these two elected officials.

The second would be a bit more long-term. In the fullness of time, Wyoming needs an anti-hate crime bill that codifies the first couple of sections in Article 1 of the Wyoming Constitution. That legislation will be fought hammer and tong by anyone who resists the egalitarian political dream of Wyoming.

I can think of no better elected officials to work on this legislation than the first black sheriff in Wyoming, and Representative Cyrus Western. And, for personal reasons, I’d like to see that legislation titled “The James Isaac Bill”.

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