I came to Wyoming when I was 9 years old, first to Wheatland, then to Cheyenne. I remained there until five years ago, when my husband and I moved to Laramie.
The Wyoming I grew up in was neighborly, known for its friendliness and willingness to help others in need. I attended public schools and received a first-rate education and graduated from the University of Wyoming. Eventually, I had two children and five grandchildren.
My husband served 10 years in the state Legislature. Politics in those days had plenty of rousing discussions, but always with civility and goodwill. Republicans and Democrats worked together for the betterment of the State. We had congressmen like Teno Roncalio, Gale McGee, Cliff Hansen, and Alan Simpson, representing both parties, achieving national prominence. They were not political "hacks" who followed the party line. They were independent thinkers who sought the counsel of their consciences when casting their votes. Wyoming in those days was a good place to live and to raise a family.
What happened? The Wyoming of today bears no resemblance to the Wyoming I remember. Our leaders are either timid or mean-spirited, “handmaidens” to the far right. Fearful of speaking truth for fear of being defeated by their own party in the next election. That is not public service. Differences of opinions are not tolerated. Voices of moderation have been silenced.
One party with a single mindset dominates every aspect of political and governmental life. It is well understood that a person who wants to serve in office must be the "right kind" of Republican. There is a dangerous lack of diversity and imagination.
We have three grandchildren in Wyoming. Before they reach high school graduation, we will encourage them to attend college and find a future elsewhere. Wyoming is a shadow of its former self. The state I grew up in is no more, replaced by a stagnant and unimaginative environment, incapable of nurturing a young person’s future. For those who will inevitably say: “Love it or leave it,” I reply: “If you love it, save it.”