Don’t tell me what wyoming values are

by a Wyoming Citizen

Note: The following came in from a Wyoming Democrat. While we attempt to share work that reflects the WDP platform, you may come across some words that are not exactly what WDP would have written. Perhaps you will agree with what you read below, perhaps not. Your mileage may vary.

My family has lived in the Rocky Mountain West since the 1860’s, homesteading here since the 1870’s on a ranch still owned by family. I have lived in Wyoming since 2001, but did spend seven years living in the Midwest – so I have lived elsewhere and can compare Western values to that.

I am so very tired of people trying to tell me what “Wyoming values” are, and what “Western values” are. I think I’ve got a pretty good understanding of the two. Westerners and Wyoming folks are not mean. We are hard-working. We do our best to take care of ourselves and when we see someone who needs help, we stop, and not only do we offer assistance, we actually find something that needs doing, and take care of it. We value independence.

But we have known since the beginning that we have to work together to accomplish things – in these wide-open spaces, with our weather conditions, etc., that’s the only way we can get things done. So we have brandings together. We share resources. We work towards long-term goals together. My great-great grandparents pooled their money with neighbors to start the first public school in their area, and to pay the teachers who worked at that school.

When people (often recent arrivals) start blathering about “Wyoming values,” and when those “values” apparently are mostly meanness and a refusal to recognize our responsibility to take care of our communities and to govern responsibly — those aren’t Wyoming values. It’s wild, how frequently those making the argument aren’t from here, and clearly haven’t learned a thing about those of us who ARE from here. They’re not working to fit in. They’re trying to tell us who and what we are, and they’re wrong.

All to say: pay attention to what they’re doing, not just what they’re saying. Don’t take their assertion that they have Wyoming values without testing it. Do they recognize the value of hard work? Do they take their responsibilities seriously? Are they pragmatic and practical and working on solutions? Are they kind? Are they taking care of our communities? Or are they spouting hate and blocking people from getting the work done?