Today is National Day of the Cowboy. I will notice and celebrate this because I have chosen to live my adult life in the West and I value the richness of this experience. I own a horse and have had the privilege of meeting many ranchers, cowboys and country people. Theirs is a noble endeavor – stalwarts of the land. Their lives express the rhythms of the seasons and they have often endured hard times. They survive. Whether by sheer will (and sometimes extreme stubbornness) or deep faith, they keep on trying. I have found sturdiness, honesty, a commitment to family, deep responsibility, a strong work ethic, fierce independence, and neighborly concern.
Many of you know I have been deeply critical of a local county commissioner who calls himself a cowboy. My critique is in response to his misconduct in office and failure to keep his oath of office. My personal discouragement is that he tarnishes a more accurate portrayal of a cowboy. Far from honest, he manipulates others with his outlandish behavior and brings chaos wherever he goes. He seeks a spotlight and does not demonstrate a work ethic or much care for his community.
There is a western saying “All hat, no cattle” that describes this so-called cowboy well. It means someone who is all talk and no action – no substance behind his words. I encourage folks to sign the petition that would allow his district to have a vote on his recall from office.
Today I will celebrate real Cowboys. They have a lot to teach us.