This week we did three things: traveled to Cheyenne, worked in Cheyenne, drove back from Cheyenne.
Of course, we did those things plus a whole lot more. Here's a quick glimpse into life getting to and from and working in Wyoming's Capitol.
Get up Monday. Pack the car. Gas up. Drive 462 miles. Check into Little America, skip two receptions, and go straight to a work dinner.
Get up on Tuesday. Put on fancy pants. Go to the Capitol and take a seat in the hearing room. Start working bills from the back row. Tag in for a colleague who succumbed to stress-induced barfing (her description, not ours), meet Jacob the guy in charge of A&I who makes sure all events in the Capitol come off without a hitch, convince him to help us move tables and a divider wall, let the caterer in, put something on all the video screens. Talk to lawmakers, get snubbed by lobbyists (why? we're still not sure why), go back up to the lobby, work the lobby until it is time for whatever event is on the calendar. Oh, we're hosting? Sure, great, no problem. Go to that. Check with the manager and the server and get the wine poured and the apps out and the guests comfortable. Give an impromptu speech. Joke that we're not selling Amway. Admit that running a pyramid scheme would be easier than what we are doing. Wonder aloud what it is we're doing: Protecting democracy? Shoring up the Constitutional republic? Protecting equal rights? Slowing the slide into Christofascism? Admit that some days it is unclear if we're doing anything other than living through the last days of the Republic. Have dinner and enjoy those who are in the fight alongside us. Say our thank yous. Say our prayers. Go to bed knowing tomorrow we'll get up and do it all again.
Get up on Wednesday. Put on fancier pants and taller shoes. Go to the ballroom for the Governor's Prayer Breakfast and experience seven kinds of Jesus before 8am. Leave deeply impressed with the resilience of some of the people in the room and the strength of others. Go to the Capitol and take a seat in the hearing room. Start working bills from the back row. Run through the day from hearing to lobby to meeting to event. Regret wearing heels. Imagine Sisyphus happy.
Get up on Thursday. By now, you know how this goes.
What we want to say is that the Capitol has a lot of steps in it. 99 steps from the Capitol extension up to the gallery, as loyal readers of this site will recall from posts past. The Capitol has a lot of good people in it. At least 36 on the House side if the recurring vote split is any indication. (The rank hypocrisy of many of the remaining 26 might act as a forcing mechanism, might engage some folks in the Equality State who have been on the sidelines until now. For more on the hypocrisy, read this: Everywhere you look this legislative session is hypocrisy.)
What we want to say is that we refuse to believe that Wyoming's best days are behind us, that new people--tax and political refugees, alike--will dictate our future, that government should grow its power in pursuit of policing social mores and enforcing a narrow and specific morality.
What we really want to say, now that we've run the gauntlet of I-80 and made it home alive (more than we can say for whole herds of elk and antelope and far too many people during what has been an especially storm-filled and deadly winter on the road), is that Wyoming deserves our attention. Wyoming needs our care. Wyoming is worth fighting for.
They cannot have it.
What they are trying to turn this state into will ultimately hollow it out. And then it will collapse of its own weight. They'll sell us for parts to our neighboring states. Where do you get high-level healthcare or buy bulk groceries or catch a flight? That's the state most likely to claim your community when the yard sale comes.
Which is to say: IT ISN'T TOO LATE.
And you don't have to drive to Cheyenne on the regular to help.
But you do have to get involved. Find time. Dig deep. Take some risks. Be uncomfortable, occasionally.
Here's the secret, here's why we do it: Wyoming has always been worth it.