Opinion by Roy Frybarger
I offer this, optimistically, as an enhancement to-and-of Paul Weaver’s thoughtful assessment of the challenges Wyomingites will encounter, in the face of population pressure and an apparently dwindling natural resource-based economy. Neither of those forces (population; the decline of coal) need be treated as inevitable, and I encourage everyone to think about how we leverage our current strengths into a form that will help us maintain control of our future. I’m sure the energy generation experts in our midst have some thoughts about coal’s future that have not been widely distributed, nor shared outside their industry. I know they haven’t trickled down to me. This is not a criticism, just a reality of communication and a simple request for more communication. As with all challenges we face, if we wish to influence those forces, I think the sooner we get started, the greater our likelihood of success.
I agree with Paul’s call for a statewide conversation, as he states here, “People in this state need to start really talking to each other and setting the agenda. If we really are a “small town with long streets,” it’s time for a town meeting”.
We are, by nature, a population of introverts; certainly at least geographically. This is no criticism of anyone or their lifestyle; it is a merely inevitable result of our population density. I, least of all, wish to attend meetings, and mingle; but I think Paul’s call for a statewide conversation compels us to social interaction. Fortunately, it would/will be interaction-driven by a compelling objective.
Asking what that objective will be, puts us in the heart of the difficulty. What do we want? Do we seek postponement of the crushing unpleasantness we see in surrounding states, or horror of horrors America’s largest cities, for as long as possible; or can we work toward a higher goal? Is it possible for we citizens of a lone state to immunize ourselves for the long term, against the things we find intolerable about unhindered growth, urbanization, and industrial disease? I like to think we’re capable of the latter; and I’m willing to contribute as much time and energy to that pursuit, as my lower back will permit.
I can’t offer any solutions, in fact, I think it would be presumptive for me to do so, without collaborating with all of you. The first and most important task is, I think, to take up the challenge Mr. Weaver has proposed. Let’s talk to each other – let’s begin the statewide conversation.
I ask all of you to hold one thought in mind, as we embark: We are in no way obligated to provide immigrants to Wyoming with a lifestyle that mimics the lifestyles they abandoned to come here.
Let us now act, because if we don’t, we will surely be acted upon.
County 17 believes in the right to free speech. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the letter belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of County 17.
All op-eds should be directed to email@example.com.