Profiles in Courage: Standing Against the Wyoming Wind

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What’s “Standing Against the Wyoming Wind” about? Profiles in Courage!

After the opening chapter’s introduction, Jeran Artery is the subject of the second chapter. He grew up gay and closeted in Wheatland where his uncle preached fire and brimstone sermons condemning homosexuals to hell’s fire. When he emerged, Jeran confronted the forces of bigotry and led the campaign to achieve marriage equality for the LGBTQ community.

Tom Bell’s extraordinary story is told in chapter three. A kid who grew up on a Fremont County ranch became a World War II hero and later, with a sixth sense about his relationship with the air, water, land, and animals, became the Godfather of the Wyoming environmental movement. Chapter four is the story of the “Black 14,” a sensational clash between racism and courage.

Lynn Dickey is the subject of the fifth chapter. Called by a contemporary “Joan of Arc on a steel stallion,” Lynn, though confined to a wheelchair and suffering lifelong pain, was an activist for social justice, taking on causes that placed her perilously out of the mainstream.

The lives of “Sissy” and Vickie Goodwin are the subject of the sixth chapter. Sissy was a crossdresser who decided it was unfair to him and the rest of us to hide who he was. Vickie was his wife and the one who backed him in that determination while having her own life fully engaged in Wyoming politics. The seventh chapter tells of Senator Joseph C. O’Mahoney who gave up his dream of becoming a U.S. Supreme Court justice because he refused to back down on his principles.

Chapter eight is the story of Congressman Teno Roncalio. Full disclosure. I was a member of Teno’s staff for eight years. In many ways, Teno was a “father figure” in my life. He gave me a gift when I graduated from law school. Bob Woodward’s 1979 book, “The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court.” Teno inscribed it, “To Rodger…my ‘son,’ and soon to be my ‘brother.” So, yes. I might be prejudiced but let his story speak for itself. Those who knew Teno even fleetingly, would not hesitate to use the word “courageous” as one of many traits they would attribute to him.

Chapter nine is about the Simpsons; Milward, Alan, and Pete. Wyoming Governor Milward Simpson risked his governorship to stand for his deeply held moral belief that it was wrong for the state to put a human being to death. It’s also about his sons Peter and Alan whose lives reflected the integrity each inherited from their father. The tenth chapter is the history of how the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Nations of the Wind River Indian Reservation withstood the winds of genocide. The eleventh is the story the of the survivors of Heart Mountain, one of the greatest acts of injustice in American history.

The final chapter heralds the courage of three Wyoming politicians who stood against some of the strongest political winds in the history of this nation. It tells the story of Senator Lester Hunt’s deadly confrontation with McCarthyism, Senator Gale McGee’s successful battle with the John Birch Society, and Congressman Liz Cheney’s heroism in the face of Donald Trump’s determination to destroy the Republic.

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