Saturday, October 20, 2012

Red State - Blue Heart, Musings Of A Liberal Wyomerican

There is a certain amount of bullying and intolerance that comes from being a liberal in the Rocky Mountain West.  It has been a difficult for me, an avid environmentalist, women's right's advocate, and progressive voter to acclimate myself to the political climate of South West Wyoming.    In 2009, shortly after President Obama's inauguration, I was literally disowned by one of my Wyoming raised cousins after a weeklong Facebook debate on the meaning of the word socialism and the unrealistic rumor that Mr. Obama was a closet Kenyan Muslim.  We parted ways after I shouted into the phone one day, "If you think that the Hawaiian government forged Obama's birth certificate and news announcement back in the 60's you are the victim of the greatest Jedi mind-trick ever perpetrated on mankind!" and hung up on him. 

In a state where we dedicate international studies buildings at our public university to Dick Cheney and have not one, but two strains of the republican party (The Rhino and Crow) which bicker over just who is the reddest of the red... I am often blown away by the rhetoric.  When I moved from Olympia, WA to Laramie, WY in 2008 - I was often asked if I was aware that I was in Wyoming, whenever I expressed an opinion.

I remember that I once I asked an Wyoming History and Economics professor why we don't tax our oil and gas exports at leas
t at the higher level approved by Gov. Palin in Alaska. He said, "I am sorry, but it is the Wyoming Way," as if I was unaware of the fact that my geographic location was an excuse for settling for something less than sub-par GOP behavior.  Often, a right-wing Wyomingite will retort to sound liberal logic, "This is Wyoming, Love it or Leave it."  Of course, this is a moment in which they deny the truth of the Wyoming Way.  The truth of the Wyoming Way has nothing to do with giving up or leaving.

I think about this a lot. I know the Wyoming Way. My ancestors defined it. They plowed this earth, they dug the canals, they built the road to Yellowstone. They broke the ponies, laid the rail, and maintained the homesteads. I can tell you this right now... Nobody left when things got tough.

I will tell you something else I know.  The Wyoming Way, is not the way of rich cattle barons who rule their aristocracy from afar. The Wyoming Way, is the way of free-grazing cattlemen, who labor and bleed to feed their families and pay meager taxes. Think of sweat and blood and dirt and tears, think of hard winters and hot summers and people like me who live a mile and a half high in the sky.

When you think Wyoming, think not of the Cattle Baron, but the Cowboy. Think of strength and character and hard effort and righteous deeds. Think not of profit gained by soft manicured hands and manipulation over effort. When you think of America, think Wyoming. Think of a woman raising two children in a little house on the prairie. Think of her husband and his bent back. Think of us walking through blizzards to pursue education. Think of us, traversing mountain passes and deserts for medical care. Think of us, and our humble lives, living little bitty, living on love and not much else.

Now ask yourself, very honestly - Which candidates on your ballot will represent us best? Which candidates are the cattle barons? Which are the cowboys? The Wyoming Way is the honest, hardworking, righteous way. I know it because it runs five generations back in my blood.

I know the Wyoming Way, as well as I know my own child's voice... I know the American Way as I know his heartbeat... And I will give you a hint, regardless of the cognitive dissonance in our majority vote - the Wyoming Way does not in the slightest resemble the platform of today's GOP. In spite of the insistence in their squawking, FOX News is not the American Way.

I am a Wyomerican Cowgirl.  I couldn't be more proud.  I have worn hands, and tired feet.  I have sleepy children with full bellies.  I have my own piece of green grass, and a roof between me and the stars.  I have an open heart, and a thinking brain.  I am grateful.  I am proud.  I am ready to pay it forward... starting with my vote.

I am proud of this image, showing the democratic delegates at the DNC. I am proud of my fellow Wyoming Democrats. We may not be the squeaky wheels on the wagon, but the last I checked, the three quiet wheels are just as important when it is time to get rolling
Please, vote thoughtfully and progressively this election. Remind your friends, your neighbors, your spouse. It is important and your voices count. 


Bundleofenergy said...

Excellent blog. We feel your pain here in Evanston.....

We went to watch Obama's acceptance speech at a local hotel and there were ten of us.

Keep it up cowgirl and know that there are some friendlies west of you.

Anonymous said...

You go girl! Way to put it without directly telling people exactly who to vote for. Hopefully they get the hint. Anne Romney shames me as a woman, especially when hearing the anti-american, anti-female "logic" that comes from her mouth. She is as fit to be our first lady as Mitt Romney is to be our president. V

MIchael said...

In the north lakefront area of Chicago where I live, GOP supporters are as rare as liberals in Wyoming. When I am sitting next to someone in a bar or a cafe, I can assume that the person sitting next to me thinks that Sarah Palin is an idiot, the Earth is more than 7000 years old, climate change is not a liberal plot, gay and lesbian rights are a given, and progressivism is a label of pride. Right Wing folks don't have much of a social circle here. My neighborhood is rich with black, white hispanic, gay, lesbian, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Christians, immigrants from Bosnia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Russia, Mexico, China, Sudan, Ethiopia and seemingly everywhere else on the planet.

A Romney sign in a window on a bumper sticker would turn heads. I would probably feel a bit unwelcome in Wyoming and that's too bad. Like Chicago, NYC, Vermont or San Francisco, Wyoming, Texas and MIssissippi are America too. We are all Americans.

Anonymous said...

I need to move to Chicago.