Dear Roy Moore -
You, sir, are many things, but one thing you are not is a cowboy. You have no cowboy in you, unless you Brokeback’d it at a campfire when you were in Australia. I hear you claim to have been a cowboy Down Under. From watching you ride, sir, I say, “Bullshit.”
I, sir, am a cowboy, or more properly put, a "cowhand" and a "wrangler," and have been for more than 45 years. Like you, I’m also a lawyer, but, unlike you, I know how to sit a horse, rope a steer, fix a fence, pull a calf, and I’ve broken more than my share of horses. I celebrated my 50th birthday by riding a bareback bronc one last time and I’ve even ridden a bull – but only once cuz I’m not crazy.
For the record, sir, we cowboys take great offense at your pretense of being one of our breed, mainly because you’re giving us a bad name with your posing and your antics.
You prance around on stage with your lady’s purse gun and your Woody from “Toy Story” outfit and pretend you’re one of us. You ride to the polls each election on a horse as if you’re some mythical western hero. Sadly, many people don’t know better. Even more sadly, the media thinks you represent us. They think you represent us cowboys and they look down upon us because of you.
You don’t represent us, sir, because you are not one of us.
We cowboys have watched your charade, and it fills us with disgust for you and alarm for your poor horses.
You sit your saddle like a first-timer, like you’re sitting in a lounge chair. Your toes are pointed down in stirrups that are the wrong length. Your center of gravity is behind the horses’ momentum. You’re sitting on your tailbone, bouncing hard on your horses’ backs instead sitting lightly on your stride, allowing yourself to float on the horses’ backs without causing them pain.
In short, you’re breaking their backs. Your cheap fiberglass saddle is the wrong type for your horses and the saddle doesn’t fit your horses properly either, as your pommel is smack dab on the withers of your saddle sore mounts, and the bars of the saddles are too wide for their narrow backs. Real cowboys know how to fit a horse with a proper saddle. Oh, and that fiberglass saddle you're riding screams faker. A real cowboy uses a real, quality leather saddle which he will likely use his entire life and then pass on to his children.
You’re jerking on your poor horses’ mouths in near panic, and we notice your bit isn’t set right in the poor horses’ mouths. The bit is too loose and not set behind the canine teeth on the bars of the horses’ mouths, but in front of the canines. Who does that? Not a real cowboy.
You don’t ride with your legs and you jerk on the reins and your horses’ ears flatten back in pain and confusion. Any cowboy can see that your horses don’t like you and don’t trust you. We agree with your horses that you haven’t a clue as to what you’re doing.
We watched you ride away from the cameras on December 12, your reins uneven, your arms wide and flapping, your ass bouncing out of the saddle. Your horse breaks into a lope and we watched you totter one way, then the other, then grab leather with all your might to avoid falling off the horse in front of the media. Not a cowboy alive would have had a problem with that rocking chair lope your horse was doing, but you nearly lost your seat.
Your cowboy costume is deplorable, sir, and we real cowboys see it for what it is – you’re playing dress up. You wear cheap wool felt cowboy hats bought at some discount store, and any real cowboy knows those hats are not worth buying or wearing. They break down quickly with weather, wear and tear and are a waste of time and money. Real cowboys know that only 100% beaver hats, which cost close to $1,000, are worth wearing because they last 30 to 40 years and no rain, wind, snow or searing sun can destroy them. There’s the old story of the tenderfoot who went out west wearing a cowboy hat and the cowboys he met all chuckled at his attire. The tenderfoot said, “Why are you laughing? I paid $100 for this hat!” The cowboys replied, “We can tell.”
We real cowboys know how to crease our hats, sir, as each cowboy has his own style. We buy our hats uncreased and crease them ourselves, or we buy a creased hat and we re-crease it.
You can tell a real cowboy because his hat looks “lived in.” Each time we wear our hats we know they change shape, further conforming to our heads from sweat and the occasional tugging of the brim when the wind kicks up. A real cowboy’s hat never blows off in the wind because it becomes like a second skin. Also, if we cowboy in the high winds of the Great Plains, where the "breeze" can be a constant 50 mph, we use a braided rawhide stampede string, lest we lose our most prize possession. Rain and snow soften these indestructible hats and they change shape as they dry, taking on character and uniqueness that we prize. They get stained by sweat, dirt, manure, dust, and sand. The more weathered the hat, the more treasured it becomes.
You, sir, buy ‘em off the shelf and just wear ‘em at election time, which any cowboy knows is a joke. Your cheap black hat and your “Toy Story” white hat haven’t been worn enough to conform to your head, nor have the brims been altered by years of use. The white one, especially, is still in what we call “box shape,” a term which means it’s been in the box too long and it’s lost its symmetry. But you wouldn’t know that. Your hats are only props for your charade. It is blatantly obvious to us cowboys that your hats are stored in the box, unused until the media turns on the camera. A close look at your black shows dust all over it. Dust? Dust from your closet, where it's sat since the last election. Hence you look ridiculous to us real cowboys.
Among us cowboys who carry guns, sir, your choice of weaponry is hysterical. None of us would be caught dead carrying a lady’s purse gun. You looked like a New York disco cowboy with your girlie gun, sir, and you sent a message to all of us real cowboys that you have no sand when it comes to a gun fight. We cowboys know our guns, and many of us have used them in war or law enforcement, and we know that your girlie gun has virtually no use in a firefight. It does, however, look good in your purse. Wait, didn’t you go to West Point and fight in Vietnam? Shouldn’t you know this?
Finally, sir, your behavior toward others disqualifies you as a cowboy.
Cowboys don't brag and self-promote and we respect other people. We may not understand or agree with their politics, their religion, or understand their sexuality, but we don’t run our mouths criticizing those folks. We cowboys are taught to mind our own business, and respect our fellow man because, as the saying goes, “to understand a man you gotta walk in his moccasins.”
You hate gays and think they should be criminalized. Just the other day I was talking to two real cowboys at a ranch. One of these cowboys was gay, a fact known to us all. When the gay cowboy left us, the other cowboy, who was shoeing a horse at the time and is a truly seasoned old hand, looked at me from underneath the horse and said, “I don’t get the gay thing, but that cowboy is top notch.” That’s how cowboys think. We don't care about anything other than are you a dependable person we can trust. Period.
Lastly, real cowboys never disrespect women. Ever. We say, “yes, ma’am” and we don’t denigrate women. Not ever. We are even polite to women who’ve fallen into vice or drugs or drink. Further, we sure as hell wouldn’t try to argue that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, hold political office or run a company. We were all raised by our mamas and we know who really ran the ranch house. It wasn’t daddy. Also, many ranches have women owners and managers and we sure as hell aren’t gonna argue with them about their qualifications.
We know too many cowgirls who’d use a real gun to shoot our nads off if we argued that women were in some way lesser than men. It’s just not the cowboy way.
So, Mr. Moore, whatever you do in the world of law and politics, and whether or not we support or don’t support your agenda, we cowboys sure wish you’d drop the pretend cowboy act and just wear a suit and tie, or, maybe switch to a Biblical or super hero costume.
Cause one thing we cowboys know for sure - you aren’t one of us, and we don’t want folks thinking you represent us.