Riggleman, Actually

In 2015, fresh out of college, I decided to go to a local Republican meeting back home in the 5th. John Whitbeck, then the new chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV), was waxing poetic about how the GOP was ready to take on the future, to fully rebuild after Cucinelli’s failed bid. He wanted to hear suggestions from members of the audience of what issues to take on.

I raised my hand. As a former intern in the central Virginia arm of Cuccinelli’s campaign, I felt the reason Ken lost were because he leaned too hard into the culture war issues and wouldn’t keep his hands off social conservatism, so much so, that he had to propose. Whitbeck called on me.

I told him that opposition to gay marriage was not the hill to die on. Like President Obama, my views evolved on gay marriage, much like the rest of the country at that time. Why should my party or anyone stand in the way of their pursuit of happiness? Especially conservatism, which as an ideology champions individuality and freedom. It is not married to religion or any church. It was hypocritical to oppose.

I asked Whitbeck if he would be open to changing our party’s stance. He stammered and sputtered, and said some BS line about as a party we have to “remain true to conservative values” and tried to quickly move on. I was booed by my fellow Republicans that night.

Four years later in the 5th District, not much has changed.

Representative Denver Riggleman officiated a gay wedding in the year 2019. Denver, a Republican with a Libertarian streak, upheld the written values of famous past residents of the district — Jefferson and Madison. He ensured a loving couple that they have the right to pursue their own life, their own liberty, their own happiness.

Denver ensured as their representative that their general welfare is protected. But, hey, damn Jefferson and Madison. Damn our Constitution. Damn the fact that the district is getting bluer. GOP extremists, the real RINOs, want another scalp. Because Denver isn’t pure enough for them, they call for a convention. Because Denver is an actual human being, they try to censure him.

These haters foam and froth at the mouth because the world has moved on without them. They fail to realize that Christmas and the holidays and joy are around the corner. They fail to realize that gay Americans are Americans, too. Gay Americans celebrate their holidays, pay the same taxes, and adopt babies that might have been destined for abortion. They fail to realize that LOVE, ACTUALLY, is all around.

So extremists, just stop. Spend time this holiday season with the people that have to have you as family. Enough. Enough now.

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