Until the Wyoming Legislature had its Montana moment, I wasn’t even aware it was in session.
That moment came about 10 days ago, when a member of the Wyoming House successfully amended a bill to direct a “government-continuity task force” to examine the conditions under which Wyoming might need to acquire its own aircraft carrier.
Mind you, things have gotten so crazy in this country that the original bill, which merely called for creating the task force to determine what the state should do in the event of a breakdown of the federal government, didn’t cause much of a stir.
Why should it have, coming just a year after the Montana Legislature took up at least one deranged bill a day for several weeks running?
The doomsday bill was introduced in the Wyoming Legislature by Rep. David Miller of Riverton. It would have created a task force charged with preparing the state for “a potential disruption of the United States federal government.”
One of the doomsday scenarios included in the bill was “a situation in which the federal government has no effective power or authority over the people of the United States,” and the possibility of Wyoming needing to issue an “alternative currency.”
Cairo on the Potomac
In an interview with the Casper Star-Tribune, Miller said that while he saw no imminent danger of societal collapse, “Things happen quickly sometimes — look at Libya, look at Egypt, look at those situations.”
Is that really how some people see this country — as a corrupt, autocratic police state that massacres its own citizens on the streets of the capital? Is Barack Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008 somehow analogous to Moammar Gadhafi’s 1969 coup in Libya, to Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year record of rigged elections in Egypt?
If not, what possible grounds would anyone have for comparing “those situations” in Libya and Egypt with what’s going on here?
And if conditions in this country are so awful, what’s wrong with a federal government with no effective control over the people? Sounds like a successful revolution to me, or a libertarian utopia.
Though the original bill didn’t get much attention outside Wyoming, the amendment by Rep. Kermit Brown certainly did. He suggested having the task force take a look at the possibility of Wyoming establishing its own military draft, raising an army and buying some fighter jets and an aircraft carrier.
It seemed like a joke, meant to ridicule the original bill, but Brown and Miller are both Republicans and Brown supported Miller’s bill even before introduction of the aircraft carrier amendment. So who knows?
A joke? Not so fast ...
Again, having observed the strange doings in Helena last year, it is difficult to assert with confidence that anything is a deliberate spoof.
No, I take that back. I’m quite sure Casper Star-Tribune reporter Joshua Wolfson was joking when he conducted a “careful analysis” to determine which Hollywood dystopia was most likely to be in Wyoming’s future.
Looking at “Waterworld,” “The Matrix,” “Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome,” “The Road” and “2012,” Wolfson concluded that the Mad Max movie had the best chance of coming true, mainly owing to the proliferation of guns and junk cars in Wyoming.
Perhaps because Wolfson is younger than I am, he didn’t even consider “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” I think someone needs to look in the broom closets of the Wyoming Capitol for some very large, suspicious-looking pods.
During the last session of the Montana Legislature, speaking of suspicious-looking pods, one of the wackiest bills was introduced by Bob Wagner, who proposed requiring the state to back transactions of state business with gold and silver coin.
That prompted Rep. Dick Barrett to suggest — and we can only assume he was joking — that since Wagner’s bill basically provided for “the payment of taxes in-kind,” why not pay taxes in coal?
Eureka! Here is the answer to Wyoming’s dreams. Why print your own currency? If the Republic collapses, make coal the new medium of exchange.
With its limitless reserves of coal, Wyoming could build a fleet of aircraft carriers. Just let Montana assert its right to Wyoming water then.