The last two weeks were frustrating. It
was hard for me to sit and listen to Pinedale
residents openly plead ignorance about ongoing
local events and the Pinedale Town
Council’s zone change process. It was even
more difficult to listen to them insist that
months, maybe even years, of planning
should come to a grinding halt because they
chose not to be informed.
I had an uncle with Down’s syndrome.
With an IQ of about 70, he lived in a group
home and worked full time. He was considered
“stupid” – by definition that means
lacking intelligence or common sense. He
also lacked the ability to learn but still had a
happy and productive life.
I will never call anyone stupid as an insult,
because it is not insulting. Instead, it is
a statement of fact.
Then there is the term “ignorant” – by
definition that means lacking knowledge or
awareness. Ignorant is an insult.
In this day, there is so much knowledge
available to everyone. Public education is
free. The telephone in today’s world has
more computing power than the first three
computers I owned combined.
Whether it’s from a device, free libraries,
newspapers, local classes or active participation
in our community, there are always
opportunities to learn and be active in our
With so much available information, to
be ignorant is a choice. It means a person
chooses to avoid information and knowledge.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A well-informed
electorate is a prerequisite to democracy.”
He also said apathy will be the
death of democracy.
My weeks of frustration were brightened
last week with a ray of hope from students
who chose to get involved in what must
have been an intimidating atmosphere.
A group of Pinedale Middle School students,
Big Piney High School students and
Kemmerer High School students showed
poise and knowledge of political processes
as they appeared before the Wyoming Legislature’s
Joint Revenue Committee and
testified about the risks and dangers of electronic
It wasn’t just testifying. They had studied
in advance and knew the correct procedures
in addressing the chairman. They knew to
keep it short so every word mattered, was
relevant and on point. Then the hard part;
they very knowledgeably answered questions
from the committee members.
The students were followed by testimony
from paid lobbyists representing major
corporations involved in the cigarette and
I have to say the students’ testimony
probably carried more weight than that
given by paid lobbyists.
I’m very proud these students cared
enough to speak, took time to study their
facts and the issues, cared enough to become
familiar with the lawmaking process.
I hope they continue to stay involved because
a little care and attention can make a
lot of change. More importantly, it can save
Holly Dabb can be reached at