Wyoming is a bit conflicted.
We are completely dominated by a population that favors the Republican ideology, yet is capable of electing (and re-electing) Democratic governors, such as Dave Fruedenthal.
While our inherent red leanings aren’t all that surprising, the contradictions between our political philosophy and actual laws are.
The idea that we are a rugged and independent people, who will balk at most anything the federal government proposes is juxtaposed by our lagging civil rights statutes.
We are a people who don’t want any sort of government telling us how to live our lives, and yet we are completely at ease with laws that regulate whom one can marry, if a woman can make the autonomous decision to terminate a pregnancy or what sort of plant you can roll up in paper and smoke. Seems legit.
Either we’re repressed, anachronistic bigots or we’re just plain stupid. Neither choice is all that appealing.
Now, I feel as though I’m being too harsh on our beloved square state at this point. We are, despite the various flaws, attempting to enact change.
The past few months have seen a campaign urging for marriage equality laws in Wyoming ramping up.
With former senator Al Simpson acting as the figurehead of the movement it’s obvious that change, however halting, may be coming to the state.
But why has it taken us this long to do what many other states, particularly in the North East have done?
I hate coming across as the college-aged adult who goes about bashing the mindsets of past generations, but I can’t help but conclude that they are the exact reason we can’t live up to our own ideology.
The idea of same sex couples and legal marijuana is statistically much more accepted by younger generations of people.
A 2014 Pew Survey found that 51 percent of Millennials (18-33 year olds) support gay rights, while only 33 percent of people categorized as Baby Boomers do.
According to the Wyoming Business Council website, statistics show the amount of younger people living in Wyoming dropped from the years 1990 to 2005, while the number of retirement age citizens increased between those years.
Taking that at face value, one can only assume that the people, who these laws will have absolutely NO impact on, are the ones preventing them from being passed. Most senior citizens are already married and will not be getting pregnant, so why are they voting for political representatives who pass laws that won’t affect them?
I’m being overtly facetious with this simplification of course, as there are a vast number of reasons why people are elected into office and I don’t want to insinuate that older citizens vote for candidates simply to repress the younger generation.
However, there is a glaring problem with the laws in this state. Either we stick to the supposed Libertarian-esque ideology which we espouse, that of fiscal conservatism and social independence, or we figure out a different philosophy to get behind.
Because as of right now, Wyoming is the kid on the playground who no one takes seriously because we talk a big game but don’t actually follow through – except for Al Simpson, who I’m pretty sure is the coolest person from this state.