OPINION: Wally Johnson is Latest Victim of his own Ideology

Little Mountain. Photo by Tom Gagnon.


The following was written and submitted by Tom Gagnon.

This opinion was written in response to Wally Johnson’s opinion piece on Little Mountain published April 18, 2018, which you can read here.

Groveling Wally Johnson is just the latest victim of his own ideology and naivety. In his recent article, published in several local news sources, county commissioner Johnson describes a letter he recently sent to Governor Matt Mead, the BLM, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and to the three members of Wyoming’s congressional delegation.

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This letter begs that there be a postponement of oil and gas lease sales in the Little Mountain Area, and along important animal migration corridors, “… until the public has had an opportunity to provide comment on …” where drilling should occur, and what should
be preserved.

Johnson does not understand the nature of who he is dealing with. The BLM is just an expression of the executive branch of our federal government, specifically of the attitude of the person whose posterior warms the national throne. At the moment this means Donald Trump, who, by way of Ryan Zinke and Wyoming’s fossil-fuels-bought congressional delegation is out for nothing short of “energy dominance”.

As demonstrated by the gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency, this administration cares nothing for public health, science, truth, and conservation, or of our area’s traditions of hunting and fishing and outdoor recreation.

Republicans, who hold and dominate most offices in Wyoming’s local, county, and state governments, and most civic groups, are under the illusion that their say counts for something-it doesn’t! Not anymore.

During the Obama years, we could count on “collaborative” approaches to resource management, and even becoming “stake holders”, but most of Wyoming’s voters lacked gratitude for this and look where we are now.

We are being manipulated by the fossil-fuels industry, and the crazy beast in the White House.

For Johnson’s part, on the one hand he is naïve, and on the other hand he is something less than truthful. The naïve part I’ve explained above; the untruthful part can be demonstrated by his recent siding with Wyoming’s U.S. Representative Liz Cheney to eliminate our county’s thirteen Wilderness Study Areas. Though the vast majority of correspondents opposed having the W.S.A.s returned to “multiple use” status, Johnson, along with county commissioners John Kolb and Don Van Matre, sided with Cheney’s request to take away wilderness protections for the W.S.A.s.

In short, though these commissioners say otherwise, they really don’t care what the public wants.

Commissioners Reid West and Dr. Randy Wendling have been better listeners to their constituents, and have shown more foresight. They are friends of Little Mountain.

Republican ideology has backfired in Sweetwater County. Our residents would like to preserve laudatory traditions and traits, such as hunting and fishing, and fair play and honesty. Johnson, Kolb, and Van Matre are naïve and dishonest.

They really should resign. They will not do this, of course, so our protests will have to become much more forceful until the glorious day when we can vote the bums out of office. We have to hold off the damage they will try to do between now and November.

I’ve been off Facebook for at least five years, but a friend of mine is on it, and he recently showed me forty or so posts related to my last editorial, in which I criticized the president of Muley Fanatics, and Republicans harshly. We laughed and laughed and laughed. And I cried.

I do appreciate that the people who posted used their real names, and I know several of them, but several people posted several times, and they usually seemed to angrily point out my anger. They are correct.

I am frustrated by intelligent people who have gone against all the good things that they have learnt since they were knee high, and they did this by voting in the disgusting way they did on November 8, 2016. This day in history is scarcely better than December 7, 1941, or September 11, 2001 –this time we did it to ourselves.

The full impact of this will become increasingly obvious as time goes on; watch out health care, education, the environment, the national debt, justice and democracy, and Little Mountain.

As friends have warned me, the risk that I run in this in-your-face article, is that I might insult and alienate Wyoming’s conservative people, or sound condescending, but, frankly, so what?

Would it be better, or any worse, if I tiptoed and coddled my conservative neighbors? Or should I just talk to them like adults?

Many Democrats, who I know, are trying really hard to be sensitive towards the feelings of
their Republican neighbors, but I’m not sure it’s doing any good.

Maybe a bunch of freaked out and defensive emotions by conservatives will, by November’s mid-term elections, evolve into a new outlook.

None of this, however, changes the pertinent questions: Do they regret their Trump and Cheney votes? Will they refuse to change out of pride and spite? Will they be
grownup enough to see their mistake?

If the answers are “no”, will they continue to vote against their own interests, against conservation, and against Little Mountain?

In the meantime, perhaps the Muley Fanatics’ “Militia” could pay a courtesy call on a county-commissioner meeting. Taking their peashooters would make it picturesque, and might even make national television, and then Trump would certainly see it.

After all, what is the Second Amendment for?