by Mike Pyatt
Not easy ones like which movie to watch or flavor of ice cream. Strawberry or Pralines n’ Cream? But those that have substantial, long-term existential sway. The switch to E-trade seemed logical at the time. Which memory care for Mom? It’s those choices that interrupt our sleep, and unwillingly beckons disharmony and dissonance to our erstwhile sense of well being. Such events or circumstances shake our prior state of certitude, draining every fiber of our being, as our solace’s stolen from us, rapaciously. One feels more vulnerable and exposed when it’s linked undeniably to one’s agonizing choice. Freedom of choice doesn’t assure freedom from consequences.
In this “off year election” Wyoming voters still anticipate another season of political rancor, wrangling, and mystery, particularly in the gubernatorial race, that has attracted a sizable cluster of GOP hopefuls. The clamor one hears in the background are candidates jostling for position as the primary approaches. The human condition appears to be prone, or susceptible, to feigned flattery, fast talk and specious promises that eclipse our otherwise reasoned senses when assessing one’s choice for political office. Wowing the crowd with flair, a display of eloquent, often vacuous words, is a staple long used by many politicians, prosperity preachers and hucksters alike, designed to obfuscate the fact that they’ve little to say, void of substance, pandering to the individual or crowd’s disregard for the validity or falsity of the speaker’s rhetoric.
How often do candidate’s arguments obscure the intent of his or her agenda? Left with buyer’s remorse, one’s visceral reaction tends to correspond directly with the emotion one has invested in that choice. At the federal, state or local level, after we’ve done our duty of voting, too many politicians reflexively shift their focus from counting votes, to prolonging their risk averse, political career at our expense. When it comes to campaign pledges, their memories are short. Perhaps ours are too short and standards too low. Counting on voter political amnesia is baked into their strategy. However, many voter neurons are still firing.
Governor Mead’s political nascent is on the downward arc. Wyoming voters first elected him in 2010. In 2014, after the10th District Court ruled on Guzzo v.Mead, that Wyoming’s ban on same sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment, Mead commented to a reporter, that ruling “is contrary to my personal belief and those of many others.” Was it a preference or conviction? Preferences are rarely pugilistic. His critics observe his convictions are primarily economic. Mead’s defenders posed the question, “What was he to do in the face of the Court’s decision?” If we could’ve inoculated him with a dose of conviction, he could’ve shot back, “Our legislature has codified that marriage is between a man and woman in 2003, and again in 2013. Further, the 2003, statute reads, ‘marriage is a civil contract between a male and female person.’ And, while that is the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion, we will follow that statute, and I’ll direct all County Clerks to not issue any marriage licenses to same sex couples. Period.” Further, he could’ve defiantly retorted, “Let the court make the next move!” Wyoming could’ve opposed rampant judicial activism. Governor Mead immediately, in a non-Quixote manner, waved the flag of surrender. He commented after Skavdahl’s ruling, “As in all matters, I respect the role of the courts and the ruling of the Court.” What happened to the 10th Amendment? Mead chose not to appeal. SF-104 still haunts Mead. Choices often have a painful shelf-life.
Wyoming touts common sense political thinking. There are limits to that bromide. Former GOP Senator, and “debt expert,” Al Simpson, known for his humor, wit, and hefty speaking fees, surprised some, dismaying many, when he jumped on the same sex-marriage bandwagon. He turned court jester when it came to supporting this unholy alliance. How could one, who has enjoyed the blessings of this one man and one woman union, the lynchpin of family solidarity for centuries, with a myriad of benefits, not the least of which is companionship, love and procreation, lend his name to such a failed perversion of God’s plan? Simpson told WyoFile, “It’s very simple to me. It is a simplistic approach to life. We are all God’s children. We are all human beings.” His theology is worse than his humor. Simpson chose to ignore the State GOP platform that exclusively extols traditional marriage-between one man and one woman.
One must distinguish between candidates’ preferences and convictions. Discover if they know the difference. Hypocrisy often masquerades as sophistry. George Orwell said of the hypocrite, “He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” When Al Simpson was asked bout Wyoming’s role and same-sex marriage, he replied, “It is called the Equality State-how about that for hypocrisy? ”He chose to advocate for the Republican Unity Coalition, in direct opposition to the State GOP platform on marriage. That’s hypocrisy!
Though raw facts and the brilliance of the truth jar us from our reverie, and brutalize and buffet our idyllic, felicitous romanticized choices we covet so dearly, one must be percipient to the lessons learned from past life altering choices. Time has a way of eroding our ability to capture the essence of what we decided, and the reasons why. Often, we fatally settle for a revision suitable to our solace, rather than capturing the original version, and coming to grips with our choices.
This isn’t ice-cream. When electing a governor, or any public official, examine the choices they’ve made. Don’t be duped by external glitz and duplicitous parlance. Let’s choose a governor, this time, who’ll survey the job extolling “permanent things,” who’s a problem solver, with a calling to serve citizens and liberty, understanding that it’s not their money to squander. Who wouldn’t throw Karl Allred, Gerald Gay, Cindy Hill, or our constitution under the bus. That should narrow the field. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org