by Mike Pyatt
Since our Founders framed this Republic, the notion of patriot citizens serving honorably and briefly, with rare exceptions, has diminished with the passage of time. There’s been a load of self serving. Unfortunately, the constituency being served is too often large donors, money bundlers, political strategist, and a myriad of “invisible hands.” Much like the wind, we don’t see it, but we surely feel it. A gentle breeze has turned into a raging destructive force as voters once again fail to understand the precarious nature of campaigns and political outcomes. “Draining the swamp” has been easier to say than to carry it out. Those creatures aren’t easily eradicated anywhere. Whether it’s D.C. or Cheyenne.
After 116,518 votes, many in Wyoming are unsettled after this Primary season, following the combative GOP gubernatorial race. Liberty minded conservatives invested a sizable dose of optimism in Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman. Weeks before the Primary, a Laramie Boomerang poll indicated she held a slight edge over her closest rivals. A subsequent CST poll gave a slight nod to upbeat, billionaire Foster Friess. Mark Gordon was always nipping at their heels. The polls, once again, proved to be an unreliable predictor of the outcome. Moderate GOP insider Mark Gordon crossed the finish line ahead of Friess. Hageman finished third. Gordon garnered 33%, surging at the right time, edging out Friess, who miraculously burst from single digits to a 25% slice of the political pie.
Didn’t anyone see Gordon coming up the back stretch? They should’ve listened to Rex Rammell, who, months earlier, switched to the Constitutional Party, and on K2 TV, predicted that he’d be running in the general election against Gordon. Gordon’s strength was in the populated cities like Cheyenne and Casper. Friess captured more rural votes than forecasted. Too many conservative voters characterized the moderate GOP as gimcrack. It’s one thing to be distracted by the cacophony of conservative voices. It’s rarely fatal. Unfortunately, we’re often obsequiously distracted by deluding, well intended predictions that ignored signposts along the way. Well deserved assaults lodged at Gordon, like his contributions to left leaning causes, didn’t penetrate Gordon’s armor, borrowed from departing Governor Matt Mead. It didn’t phase the dominant moderate wing of the GOP. Denigrating Friess’ spending his own money was aimless and counterintuitive.
Where are the Statesman? Someone suggested, “Politicians devour them.” We continue to question whether we can elect more liberty minded constitutionalists. To do so, we’d have to hermetically seal them to avoid political contamination. Political shelf life is perilously short. Thankfully, we’ve some legislators delivering on their promises to be fiscally responsible, and defend and guard our liberties. However, we’ve made serious miscalculations, like giving credences to polls, and failing once again to support one electable conservative candidate this political season in Wyoming.
There’s good news in HD 57. Representative, Chuck Gray, staved off “Johnny-come-lately Republican,” Daniel Sandoval, whose appeal to Democrats to “switch over” to oust Gray, failed miserably. Those with political amnesia forget Casper City Mayor Daniel Sandoval’s 2016, post election speech, railing against voters, deriding them, after he and three other council members lost their re-election bid. Rather than acknowledge the voter’s will, he concluded, “This year’s election was, in part, a slap in the face to the voters’ own local government.” He reasoned that they should be thanking them, rather than criticizing them. He knavishly attributed his loss to voters “being grumpy.” “Grumpy” voters showed up again in 2018. Will he complain again, “How ungrateful is that?” Sandoval’s departing shot in 2016, was he planned to write another book. He’ll have more time. A suggested title, “Arrogance & Duplicity: A Guide to Loosing Elections.” Occasionally savvy voters get it right, ousting politicians, who’re inordinately enamored with themselves.
Many astute voters understand a minimal form of government is a necessary evil, as the Founders acknowledged. Ludwig von Mises stated the dilemma succinctly, “The worst evils which man has ever had to endure were inflicted by governments. The state can be and has often been the main source of mischief and disaster.” Both parties prattle about combating big government. There’s a paucity of results. Don Quixote whimsically tilted at windmills waging war for a “fairer and better world.” Are we liberty minded, conservatives any wiser than Quixote? Daniel Webster must’ve had us on his mind when he chillingly warned, “It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” Many fear Thomas Jefferson gave future generations too much credit, when he observed, “The good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will correct themselves.”
Wyoming isn’t exempt from political mischief. Who was behind last minute Primary “Switch Wyoming” robo calls to Democrats? Is corruption inevitable in politics? What are the factors that lead to shifting from serving a constituency to self-serving behavior? Since our Founding, there’ve been loyal, self-effacing public servants who’ve carved their initials on the tree of “Well done faithful servants.” Predictably, too many are etched in the “Hall of shame.” We err by thinking of corruption as only wicked and evil behavior. There’s a tendency to point our long bony finger at others we deem more corrupt than ourselves. Corruption’s first a state of mind. Perhaps our memories are too short and our standards too low.
What’s our role in this aging dilemma? No more winking at corruption, with wrong getting a “pass.” We vex our souls by returning scoundrels to office. There’s a reason career politicians leave office with bulging waistlines and wallets, where cronyism and kleptocracy reign. Increased patriotic participation in the public arena-not less-is warranted. Having participated in this primary race, where less than one-third registered voters appeared, sadly underscores that apathy’s alive.
A towering moral problem of our day has an antidote. Let’s cancel the lease on political apparatus, banality and apathy. Reinvigorating unvarnished truth. Be indefatigable in doing right. Oppose those who opt to do otherwise. Politics surely cast a shadow on our existence. However, we can remain unfettered by its shackles with determined resolve and actively looking to Him for our True North. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s email@example.com