Why are Wyoming taxpayers funding an R-rated drag show?

“Civil War” arrived in theaters over the weekend. The much-hyped film portrays a fragmented America, with a bizarre alliance of California and Texas and a group of “Western Forces” battling what’s left of the federal government, led by Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation.” If there ever were a Western state that would resist the federal leviathan, it’s Wyoming. The Cowboy State tends to give Republicans the largest margin of victory of any state in our cracked union.

The problem is, Wyoming can’t manage to rid itself of the cultural rot in its own institutions.

Unless we expand the freedom caucus rosters in red states, our present-day cold civil war will be a one-sided fight. And we’ll lose.

The Wyoming Freedom Caucus on Wednesday raised alarms after discovering that the Wyoming Department of Health, which has been controlled by Republicans for years, is funding a bingo-themed drag show in Laramie. The event, billed as “R-rated and not for children,” has received $3,000 from the health department from an account designed to combat the spread of AIDS.

“Complete with salty language, dirty jokes and booze-a-plenty, parental discretion is strongly advised!” warns the organizers of the April 27 event featuring male cowboys in stilettos. Because the way to stop the spread of AIDS is by having more pro-sodomy events and drag shows, much as Republican Gov. Mark Gordon’s mask mandate was effective in stopping the spread of COVID.

It’s easy to imagine a blue state funding such an event. But the reddest of red states?

“Taxpayers should not be expected to fund the escapades of ‘boozed up cowfolk’ at ‘R-rated’ drag shows,” the Freedom Caucus declared in a statement calling on Gordon to sever ties with the event’s organizers. “This careless use of taxpayer dollars is an insult to those who have suffered and lost their lives to this deadly and serious disease.”

Of course, Gordon has declined to comment, while health department officials have sought to downplay their support for the event. However, their involvement was prominent enough that the logo of the department was displayed on a flier. It was edited out after the Freedom Caucus brought the event to wider public attention.

It should come as no surprise that Wyoming state officials would promote licentious values on Gordon’s watch. Last month, he used his line-item veto to overturn a budget provision that would have stripped funding from DEI offices and programming at the University of Wyoming, saying it would jeopardize federal research funding. He also opposed banning the castration of minors and blocked the passage of Chloe’s Law last year.

This year, however, the Freedom Caucus gained so much momentum in passing a new version of Chloe’s Law that Gordon finally felt compelled to sign it. Of course, the governor in his signing statement couldn’t help but rip the legislation. He bemoaned the legislature “straying into the personal affairs of families” and threatening parental rights. Yes, because somehow the state funding a drag show is not an example of government straying into personal affairs but making a barbaric medical procedure illegal is “a privacy issue.”

At the same time, Gordon vetoed House Bill 148, which would have regulated abortion mills. Didn’t Wyoming ban abortion already? Yes. But Teton County Judge Melissa Owens, a Gordon appointee, issued an injunction.

In short, a milquetoast Republican governor of the reddest state in the union has ensured that both the executive and judicial branches protect baby killing, child castration, and drag shows under the guise of privacy and individual rights.

Unfortunately, Gordon’s affinity for individual rights does not extend to the Second Amendment, as he vetoed legislation to end “gun-free zones” in Wyoming. But fear not, you can still carry a gun at a state-sponsored drag show, assuming it isn’t being held in a public school.

The revelation about the state-funded drag show is a textbook example of why it’s vital for conservative legislators to audit and expose the wayward behavior of red-state agencies — even when the legislature is out of session.

For years, we’ve suffered from an asymmetry of power between legislatures and state executives, with the executive branch operating year-round while the legislature is in session for just a few months, often with limited authority, staff, and oversight capabilities. As a result, state bureaucracies often implement left-wing policies as extreme as any you would find in deep-blue California. The ability to engage in out-of-session oversight is a perfect demonstration of the need for — and power of — state freedom caucuses.

Obviously, nobody wants a hot civil war. But unless we expand the freedom caucus rosters in red states, our present-day cold civil war will be a one-sided fight. And we’ll lose.

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