Emergency meetings are underway in Cheyenne to decide whether our state will follow Great Britain’s Brexit and Wyexit from the United States. Anything to avoid another meeting about renovating the Capitol.

Great Britain was so surprised when the “leave” campaign triumphed that it finds itself with no idea what to do next. Great Wyoming, on the other hand, is going to be ready. Constitutional scholars at Farson Community College and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge think tank have been studying the Wyexit options closely for years.

The federalist whizbangs at Farson CC are suggesting an ironic twist: after Wyexit, the Cowboy State should join the European Union, filling the void left by the Disunited Kingdom and collecting the $90 million a year subsidy that Cornwall will no longer be getting from those bureaucratic tyrants in the EU. (Oops – not $90 million anymore! With British currency dropping like an Irish hot potato, it’s more like $70 million.)

If I may be serious for a moment, or pretend to be, I should report that while in Northern Ireland recently, I heard some genuine grievances about the EU. Membership has cut deeply into Ireland’s North Sea economy, which sits next to one of the best fisheries in the world. Since the EU was created, those icy waters are divvied up with the trawlers of 27 other nations, and the Irish share of the piscary harvest has been cut severely. We stayed on Lake Foyle with a fisherman who was so desperate he’d given up his boat and become a college professor. (I warned him not to apply for a position at Farson CC – who knows what will be left of its budget after Capitol Renovation?)

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(Also, an interesting detail of the Brexit vote: With typical Irish contrariness, fish-deprived Northern Ireland voted to “remain” in the EU; heavily EU-subsidized Cornwall, with similar illogic, voted to “leave.” I include this minutiae to illustrate that Monty Python is still performing in England, and to assure that this column is long enough to meet WyoFile’s strict length requirements.)

This extraordinary bird sanctuary is on Rathlin Island off the Northern Ireland coast near Ballycastle. Irish fisherman have grievances of the European Union, too, one of whom was so desperate he’d given up his boat and become a college professor. (courtesy Geoff O'Gara)
This extraordinary bird sanctuary is on Rathlin Island off the Northern Ireland coast near Ballycastle. Irish fisherman have grievances of the European Union, too, one of whom was so desperate he’d given up his boat and become a college professor. (courtesy Geoff O’Gara)

The economists at Farson CC think that Wyoming, once freed of the yoke of federal oppression, could use vehicles like the EU to revive our flattened coal industry. Sure, those Europeans talk green, but they still burn carbon, and after Brexit, you can be sure that the mines in Wales will never reopen, because that would require bringing in Muslims from Poland to dig coal. So, Powder River to Paris, here we come!

And what about those fish in the North Sea? If Great Britain no longer nets its EU share, because of Brexit, could Great Wyoming step in? At first glance, it seems a stretch to send fishing dories from the North Platte to the North Sea — that’s a long commute. But perhaps we could load them with Wyoming coal, float them down the Mississippi River system and across the Atlantic, and sell it to our EU partners. Then, throw out a few fishing lines, and bring the cod home.

But…Silly academics! Wyoming politicians are just too practical for such risky business. They don’t even trust Washington, DC, which is much closer than Brussels. Having refused $268 million from the feds to provide health care for Wyoming residents, we’re certainly not giving up our sovereignty for Cornwall’s $70 million, a new coal market, and a few boatloads of cod.

Rather, we will Wyexit quietly, and it will mostly go unnoticed. Donald Trump will provide cover by invading Scotland. And if he threatens Wyoming, we’ll offer him naming rights to a golf course in Torrington; he’ll pronounce Wyexit “beautiful,” and bring Brexit leader Boris Johnson over for the ribbon cutting. (They appear to be brothers, with different hair-stylists.)

Wyexit should also provide sufficient cover for the legislators who are spending $300 million – and counting – to renovate the State Capitol. We’re going to have a lot more governing to do. As part of Wyexit, we will:

  • Lay claim to the 30 million acres of federal land that’s been wasting away around us, and we’ll need more state bureaucrats to process the piles of revenue pouring in from places like Ice Slough and Poison Creek;
  • Drop out of NAFTA and other onerous Clintonian trade agreements, and negotiate our own. Free trade in antlers and handguns with Idaho is one thing, but…Nebraska? It’s time to stop that corn syrup from undercutting our sugar beets, isn’t it?
  • Secure our borders. The flow of motorhomes and marijuana and Muslims from Colorado will be halted, and vacationers from Oakland road-tripping on I-80 will not be allowed past Evanston. (“Don’t want our coal in your harbor, huh? Well, no more ice cream at Little America for you!”)

Really, the only ones likely to be hurt by Wyexit, other than Oaklanders, will be the candidates for Wyoming’s single seat in the U.S. Congress. There are quite a few of them, about the population of Hulett. Whoever is unlucky enough to win that post will not be needed to represent Great Wyoming. They would be pariahs in Wyoming, and would have to reside somewhere back east — like, oh I don’t know, Virginia?

— Columns are the signed perspective of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of WyoFile’s staff, board of directors or its supporters. WyoFile welcomes guest columns and op-ed pieces from all points of view. If you’d like to write a guest column for WyoFile, please contact editor@wyofile.com.

Geoffrey O’Gara is a writer and documentary producer based in Lander, Wyoming. He works for The Content Lab, LLC and serves on WyoFile's board of directors. His column, Weed Draw, is named for a remote...

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  1. We should let Wyoming become what it really is” California’s imaginary little friend. Facetiously , he says. Recall that during the 1860’s, the area known as Wyoming ( not even a fledged territory at the time ) was very nearly carved up and given to surround territories and states. Wyoming should not exist…. an arbitrary rectangle drawn to fill a mostly empty space on maps after the Civil War, without a cultiural identity or a history or any reason to exist except as a waystation to get somewhere else. The whole hydrocarbon thing came later. Also keep in mind that Yellowstone Park is not really in Wyoming…it was created first, 18 years before statehood and barely a year after a vaccuous Wyoming territory had been conjectured on the government maps. Wyoming has always been more of a figment than terra firma, something created to fill a hole. Any notion we have today of a sovereign Wyoming is laughable.

    However, if anyone seriously puts forth the proposition of a ” Texit”—-allowing Texas to go back to being the Lone Star Republic next door to Mexico , I’ll get behind that in a heartbeat.

  2. Wyoming politicians have campaigned against the government for so long, you’d think that voters would have become more astute. Thank goodness science, logic, and critical thinking are discouraged.

    Self-fulfilling prophecies will never happen here! We believe what ever we want, and pretend it doesn’t matter.

  3. Dear Mr O’GAra
    as a longtime German resident of the EU I should like to provide some insider comment on what you have written.
    1. EU legislations has had the beneficial effect of limiting national fishing to sustainable levels at EU level. One may not like this, but this comes with having a common market for goods and services. Taking the long view should be welcome to all those fishermen who lost their livelihood because of short-termism and localism in their trade – when stocks were depleted below reproductive levels.
    2. True, coal mining is still going on but in danger of being outlawed by both the European Commission and certain national governments, not least the German one. This against all rational evaluation of cost and benefit, only to play to an supposedly “green middle majority” in the electorate.

    However, do not forget that US citizens’ right to bear arms (militia-inspired, a point that often is overlooked by the NRA and others) would fall foul of Community law, no enemies taken. Whether an enormous increase in tourism – remember visa-free travel in the Schengen area? – could compensate for such an individual loss I am not in a position to say.

    Finally – indeed – when the Yellowstone Caldera blows up and renders most of CONUS uninhabitable Europe may be the last refuge for residents from Lusk to Freedom. Too bad about Devils Tower, though.

    Happy Trails
    M. A. Titz

  4. WYEXIT will have to wait until we here in Missouri Moexit as I think our state representatives came from the sAmerican parents as Wyoming, we should of limited births to only one when these parents decided to experiment with test tube representatives, so I’m sorry seeing we came into the union before Wyoming will should go first.