Barack Obama named Colorado’s Democratic Senator Ken Salazar as his new Secretary of the Interior yesterday, and my reaction was not a good one.
By that I don’t mean I think Salazar is a bad choice. In all honesty, I haven’t paid that much attention to his stances on the issues. He’s a Democrat and a Westerner and that’s usually a good thing for environmentalists.
My negative reaction was to his wearing his cowboy hat at the press conference when Obama introduced him. Western farmers and ranchers, and a lot of not-so-Westerners, are very proud of their heritage and like to wear their hats, boots, and bolo ties wherever they go. The custom, I’ve heard, is that the hats are doffed only at bedtime. They are not removed, even indoors, although gentlemen do tip their hats to ladies.
Okay, so it’s a Western thing. It makes sense at work, especially if you’re out counting cows or oil wells, or maybe in the evening for line dancing down at the local saloon. It’s accepted “out here,” even if it’s not quite the norm in the big cities anymore. But when you live and work in the city, it becomes more an affectation than a practicality. I find it amusing, actually; invariably, people who insist on dressing like this are either insecure or looking for attention.
However, if you are suddenly tapped to be Secretary of the Interior for these United States and are to be introduced to the world by the President-elect, show a little courtesy and respect. Dress the part. Standard business suit and tie. When in Rome … yada, yada. And if you must — absolutely must — cling to your Western individualism, at least remove your hat when you are standing indoors, on stage with the President-elect of the United States, and in front of several American flags.