As you begin reading author Anthony Romeo’s electoral reflection entitled “I’m Not Ready to Make Nice,” it’s not immediately clear to whom it’s addressed. Romeo cites an unwillingness to “give… absolution.” Who wronged him?
As the piece develops, the source of Romeo’s angst takes shape. He resents those who supported his many efforts as a gay activist yet voted this year for Donald Trump. He writes for Scary Mommy:
The 2016 election carried with it enormous stakes for families like ours, to uphold President Obama’s legacy of protecting women, children, minorities. The Republican platform sought to strip basic civil rights from families like ours. It attacked same-sex marriage, instead supporting “natural marriage.” It aimed to defend merchants who want to deny service to families like mine under the banner of religious freedom.
It stands to reason, then, that we would reach out to the people in the world who have expressed their love and support of our family. These folks are among those we treasure most dearly, and to whom access and trust are given. We need support, the same as any family, because sometimes we can’t do it all on our own. Sometimes, these two grown men are afraid, and just want to hide until morning.
And it’s fascinating what happened.
Many of the people who had said they would do anything to support our family were expressing their intention to vote for the Republican Party, its platform, and its candidate, Donald Trump. Despite our attempts at educating these people who had differing political opinions, they were unmoved. While they did not self-identify as racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or misogynistic, they saw a candidate who was all of those things and said, “That’s our guy.”
… you had your choice, and you made it. You chose the party that wants to revoke my marriage, who wants to prevent families like mine from enjoying the same protections you already have. You chose the party that wants to preserve the right to turn my family away from a restaurant while allowing your family to eat inside. And we can never go back to before.
The piece presumes an audience that seeks absolution from Romeo. It imagines a reader who lies awake at night racked with grief over perceived betrayal. Does even one such person exist?
Romeo would benefit from examining a few of his premises. The degree of self-absorption on display proves astounding. His feelings matter. His issues take precedence. His relationship choices are sacrosanct. Everyone else can go to hell, no matter how supportive they’ve been before. Can I refuse to bake him a cake for being a pretentious jerk?
Look, once you support government coercion of relationships, you lose all credibility when it come to “human rights.” Romeo’s laundry list of legislative accomplishments is peppered with rights-violating government abuses, all justified by the notion that its somehow criminal to disapprove of someone’s lifestyle.
There is no natural, moral right to approval. There is no natural, moral right to the labor of others. In America, in a free society, we get to reject one another. That may not feel good, but it’s infinitely preferable to the tyrannical alternative.
The truth underlying Romeo’s rant is that he was never interested in playing nice. As a gay activist seeking state sponsorship of homosexuality, he began as an aggressor, seeking to leverage state force as a weapon of cultural warfare. His angst emerges not from a world made less peaceful by the election of Donald Trump, but from a world in which he may lose the capacity to force his way into a neighbor’s domain. He’s upset in the manner of any bully once called on his abuse.
As for those he imagines, those racked with guilt over voting Trump in spite of racism, homophobia, etc., perhaps they were motivated by — I don’t know — their own best interests. Weird, I know. What kind of monster would vote for jobs and national security when the right to enslave bakers was on the line?