By on June 28, 2017

Presidential Portraits and Hypocrisy

Ah, portraitgate, the irony you expose! Trump’s entire election platform was based on disrespecting President Barack Obama in every way imaginable, from racist caricatures to the blatantly false claim that Obama wasn’t even an American citizen.

The big orange was elected president of the United States of America because he was so obnoxiously disrespectful to the previous president. And now we have to listen to town council lecture us about respect for that office without bursting into laughter at the absurdity of it all?

The guy who made his political reputation disrespecting the president is now actually the president, and in an ironic twist of fate is being “disrespected” by a small town mayor in the heart of the “get your cotton-pickin’ federal hands off my everything” West, who made an autocratic decision to remove a picture of the autocratic federal president, thus arousing the scornful passion of the very people who voted for autocracy and a limited federal influence on state politics.

Let’s also not forget the practical consideration of kowtowing to the minority of racist, misogynistic tourists who might not want to come to Jackson knowing that locals might not be so, shall we say, “open minded,” to xenophobia and hate speech.

Gosh, it just must be awful to belong to that minority, not feeling welcome to spew slander, lies, and vitriol from one’s own god-given Christian mouth. Spare us the self-righteous hypocrisy, town council! Just come out and say that you voted along partisan lines and we can all unrest easier knowing where everyone is really at and why you stand there.

– Frankie McCarthy

Partisanship Hurts Wyoming

We all know the saying—Wyoming is a small town with really long streets. We are friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. We revel in our open spaces and enjoy recreating in our mountains, waters and forests. We respect our wildlife and strive to be good stewards of our lands. We value hard work, honesty and grit. We share a kinship in knowing what few others do— how lucky we all are to call Wyoming home.

The citizens of Teton County are proud to be a part of the Cowboy State. We relish in sharing Wyoming’s storied history and rich Western legacy. In 1920, Jackson became home to the first ever all-female town council. The first national park was established just outside our borders. Ranching continues to be an important way of life for many longtime families.

Over the past several weeks, the actions of a few have been used to label our entire community. I have been proud to call Jackson home for nearly 60 years and I can attest firsthand to the character of this community. Like many towns in Wyoming, Jackson is full of passionate citizens. While we may not always agree, we respect our constitution, our democracy and our elected officials.

As a community, and as a state, we have a responsibility to be mindful of those who hold differing beliefs or views. Public actions are bound to have public reactions, particularly those that are politically motivated. And in Teton County, which relies on visitors from across the country and around the globe, the reaction will inevitably be even louder.

The Jackson Town Council made the right decision last week in voting to restore a photo of the U.S. president to the town hall. They acted boldly and swiftly to right a wrong.

Partisan politics may be the Washington way, but it’s not the Wyoming way. We have long prided ourselves on staying above the fray of national political discourse—of maintaining a level of civility, respect and bipartisanship at the local and state levels of government. Teton County is no exception. Having served in the state legislature for 14 years representing this community, I saw the importance of this civility.

Several years ago the Wyoming State Legislature adopted the “Code of the West.” One of the pillars of this code is “Ride for the brand.” Teton County is proud to ride for the Wyoming brand. We share many of the same core values as folks all across our state, including respect for our highest elected officials. We understand that when other Wyoming communities succeed, we all succeed.

– Clarene Law

Give Us a Health Plan with Heart

While unusual, I find myself agreeing with the president that a redo of health care insurance for Americans must have “heart”—something I take to mean providing fair and compassionate insurance for all Americans. I have yet to see this in proposals before Congress.

If Wyoming has issues (which we do as a low population, rural state that does not generate insurance business interest), our senators should act in the Wyoming way by tackling our own problem, without putting tens of millions other Americans at serious risk of financial crisis or worse, premature death due to treatable conditions. 

With the current proposal, I am concerned about creating undue hardship for a variety of individuals, small hospitals and communities like those in Wyoming. Pot lucks and fundraising will not meet the shortfalls created by individual lack of health insurance—sure to happen if costs go too high, as are predicted. For most, tax credits do not do much good if one is already on the margin. I am personally familiar with the gamble that many will take, as I did after leaving my job (voluntarily) as a 12-year county commissioner. Only my husband or I could remain on COBRA.  Since he had had cancer surgery, I chose him. He could not get private insurance because of his pre-existing condition. 

Bottom line: I took the risk of no insurance and was lucky to get by until I was eligible for Medicare.

I also hear that our senators say, “Show me the money.” They should start by considering both sides of the balance sheet, i.e. government savings on health care costs vs. government costs for a population that is destabilized and competing with developing countries for status in regard to maternal/child health, and other categories that affect long-term health and welfare of Americans. 

Surely, someone has connected the dots that withholding family planning and contraceptive services, also fundamental to personal freedom, does not strengthen our nation. It does not improve the lives of children born to single mothers in urban ghettos or isolated rural areas and eventually creates costs to society as a whole. Other places to look for money are within the huge military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about. Our military forces already surpass the next six or so largest in the world put together. Another possibility is higher quality oversight of federal grant programs.

Perhaps the efficiency and accountability we seek can best be achieved with a more straightforward, fair and predictable health insurance model, one such as single payer or Medicare for all. No matter what the final proposal, it deserves to see the light of day and thoughtful debate before being put to a vote. 

  Sandy Shuptrine

About Various Authors

Sometimes it takes a village.

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