‘The Love of My Country’: Thoughts On Congressman Denver Riggleman

In case you don’t follow me on social media, I had an amazing weekend traveling around the Commonwealth of Virginia. I caught up with old friends, tried new things, saw places I have never seen before in Virginia. I just want to share two of those experiences and talk about them with you.

Sunday morning, I was invited to a fantastic brunch at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. I was able to catch up with an old friend from my College Republican days and her family while walking the grounds in the shadows of patriotic greatness. However, one thing stuck out for me. I walked into the Visitor’s Center at Mount Vernon which had a quote on the wall that knocked me off of my feet.

“The love of my country will be the ruling influence of my conduct.” -George Washington

My friends and I began to walk around the grounds of Mount Vernon and complain about the poor state of our nation’s body politic. We have Democrats like those in “The Squad,” and Beto O’Rourke who wants nothing more than to destroy every good and decent thing about our country that makes it great.

We have Republicans who want to alienate ever human being that doesn’t look, talk, pray, act, or love like they do. More importantly, we have people on both sides of the aisle who are more concerned about their pocketbooks being lined with campaign donations or lobbyists’ retainer fees than they are of their love of country.

As we strolled the lawn towards the Potomac, we commiserated on the fact that men do not speak or act like President George Washington or his fellow Founding Fathers. These men that risked life, limb, property — hell, they risked EVERYTHING THEY LOVED on an idea that people should be able to govern themselves and not leave the governing to some far away aristocratic class. The Founding Fathers believed that everything they loved was on the line and they knew that if they failed, they and their families would pay dearly. However, they did not care, because they had a country to save.

As I started my drive home down Highway 29, I began to think about the love of country. However, it was when I pulled off the side of the road in Nelson County to visit a friend that I had not seen in a long time that my faith in government was restored.

I had the honor and privilege of visiting Congressman Denver Riggleman at his distillery in Afton, Virginia. It was not very far off the interstate and I hadn’t seen Congressman Riggleman in a while (we talk frequently; we just don’t see each other in person). His business, Silverback Distillery, is a warm and inviting place where Virginians and Americans of all stripes can gather to meet over a fantastic glass of whiskey.

I’ve learned in life and in politics, if you want to really get to know someone on a personal level, let them talk about themselves. This rings true for Congressman Riggleman, who talks about his business like most people talk about their children. He showed me how the whiskey is made and talked about the fact that he is regulated by almost 10 state agencies! We talked about campaigns and policy. We talked about many things, but the conversation began to drift outside as he locked up his business for the day.

After we walked outside, he told me he wanted to show me something. We took a dirt road out behind his business and walked out onto a grassy ridge overlooking the mountains. On top of the ridge was just a simple lawn chair that looked like something you could get at Lowe’s or Home Depot just sitting out in a field. I was a little confused at first as to why the chair was located out on top of a hill, but Denver began to tell me why it meant so much to him.

Denver likes to escape the madness that is his life politically and running a small business by just sitting on top of that ridge with a good book and a glass of bourbon. As we talked, I began to realize how beautiful the sights were around us. As the sun set, he pointed out the mountains surrounding us and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Denver talks about his property in Nelson County much like Jefferson talked about Monticello or Ronald Reagan talked about Rancho De Cielo.

He talked about politics and more importantly liberty in a way that so few men or women in Washington or Richmond do. Denver began to talk about the fact that if he didn’t get involved in the political process, the ability to build businesses like his and so many others would fall away to the demise of over-regulation. We talked about the fact that he wants every man, woman, and child in America to be able to find their place in the world that makes them as happy as he is in that chair on top of that hill.

We also talked about the political nonsense that has ensued over the past few months because of the 5th District Republican Committee that continues to be a pain in his rear. Unless you have been living under a political rock, Denver has stepped on the toes of the 5th District Committee by marrying two of his volunteers who just so happen to be gay.

Most in Virginia think he did nothing wrong, but the district committee that will control the method of nomination for Denver’s re-election cares immensely. So much so that they have begun to find people to primary him and passing motions of no confidence on committees friendly to their extremist cause. The District Chairman even went so far as to talk about the gay community in such a disgusting way that two out of three of the official auxiliary groups of the Republican Party of Virginia asked the District Chairman to quit.

However, Denver doesn’t talk about this like a worried schoolgirl who is concerned about if the “popular girls” at school don’t like them. He talks like General Patton when Patton took his Army to invade North Africa. As a veteran and former Air Force Intelligence Officer, he talks about politics like we are going to war. He talks about politics in a manner that is not civil or conciliatory, but talks about it in a way of an Officer in the military planning a mission behind enemy lines (which to find out, was what he did for the Air Force). He is a man who talks and acts like he is going to war.

And folks, there is not a damn thing in the world wrong with that.

For far too long, we in the Virginia political class have sat around in smoke filled rooms discussing extremists in our party and extremists across the aisle like we can make friends with them if we just give up a little more. Give up a little more freedom to a Democrat just so we can say we are bipartisan. Give up a little more liberty to the religious extremists like those sitting on the Fifth District Republican Committee just so we can keep them happy. Pay this “consultant” or activist to like you. You help me with my campaign and I’ll help you out with your next political endeavor.

This nonsense HAS TO STOP.

We have a political party at stake.

More importantly, we have a country at stake.

I am sick and tired of the POLITICAL WELFARE QUEENS who latch on to extremist candidates to advance their agenda and get a paycheck on the side. When Denver was nominated, not only were multiple members of the committee nominating him on the payroll of his opponent, the Chairman of the committee financially benefited from his opponent.

They are still conspiring as we speak to bring him down, solely because Denver doesn’t fit their mold. He doesn’t toe the line of the theocratic dictatorial ideals. More importantly, he doesn’t pay them off. Denver said something last night and it stuck with me. “Matt, I’m going to drag the vampires out, kicking and screaming, into the light.”

It’s time to drag out the vampires in the Republican Party of Virginia. It’s time to go to war for our friend and our Congressman, Denver Riggleman.

Lastly, we talked about the fact that everything in Denver getting renominated and re-elected is on the line for him politically. His credibility as a legislator and as a man have been questioned. His family has been attacked for it. But he knows that there is a high price to pay for the ability to live out the greatness of America. He understands that at the end of the day, it’s more important for you to have your credibility as a man than it is to have some title.

I drove home thinking that my conversation at Mount Vernon about the lack of men who spoke and acted like President Washington. They are at least still around in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District, so long as it is represented by Congressman Denver Riggleman. He still loves that idea of America and he’s willing to risk everything to make it a better place to be free.

I left Nelson County ready to go to war for a great man and the Republican Party that loves and accepts every American. As long as we fight for thoseĀ  elected officials who believe in a Republican Party that allows people of all nations, faiths, races, and even sexual orientations to be Republicans, at the end of the day we did what was right. Congressman Denver Riggleman is that man and I am so proud to call him my friend.