You ever wonder why families have rifts? Or new holiday traditions are started? As a gay married man I think about that a lot.  

You know in 2020 I shouldn’t have to think about that at all. I mean marriage in general is a boring topic. Lately it’s mostly paying bills, working hard, trying to make plans for the future and keeping our husbands and wives safe during this pandemic. Mowing the lawn and taking out the trash. Saving for retirement. Some of us work extra hard to have children and raise a family.

We have bright spots in the mundane. Laughter between Curtis and I at our remote control wars while trying to find a show we both like to watch (P.S. it’s “Schitt’s Creek.”)

Our love of camping and our dream of a nice RV to spend our retirement traveling the country from sea to shining sea. Our dogs and how much joy they bring us. But mostly it’s the little things that we do for each other that help our love and marriage grow.

Now let’s imagine people in your family supporting Trump. With his hate and division. His choices of nominees would strip my life bare. Would invalidate my marriage. Would remove protections in the workplace and allow an employer to fire me just because I’m gay. Then go back to trying to love them. To sit across from them at a holiday dinner and share pleasantries. All the while knowing that they voted to invalidate my life and my love. All because they choose to turn a blind eye to a racist, homophobic, madman who has overseen the near destruction of this nation. Economy tattered. Hundreds of thousands of Americans dead. And the Republican Senate and the White House choosing to ram a hyper-conservative fanatic onto the court all while the country is on fire and then adjourning business until after the election. I don’t think so.

One has to be true to oneself. My father Andy taught me principles matter. Not when they are easy to stand by but when they are hard to. Because principles and integrity are what shape us. They define us. They mold us into the men and women that we are.

When I was a kid I would often wonder about holiday guests that sat at our dinner table that weren’t blood-related.

Why they weren’t sharing dinner with their families? What was the reason?

Perhaps their families lived far away. Or perhaps their families had passed on. Or maybe it’s because their families have different views than them. Views so repugnant to who they are as a human being that they couldn’t even stomach a meal across the table from them. I bet a lot of my friends on Facebook feel the way I feel today. I’m here to tell you you’re not alone.

That brings me to the new holiday traditions part. I think healthy traditions are important. I think spending the holidays in the spirit of love and fellowship are key to well-being. Many of us are separated from our families this year due to this pandemic. I think that’s God’s work honestly because of this election. Luckily I have the love and support of my parents, who understand the consequences of this election.

For that I am grateful. And I love them for it. But keeping the peace as a whole while my freedoms are in the balance. I don’t think so. But eventually when the dust settles we will have to make the choice of whether to break bread with people who chose to support us or support invalidating my love, my marriage, my family and my well-being.

And for that, I will not forget.

And most certainly new holiday traditions will be born for many of us. So be prepared for another few place settings at the table next year. Sami Kaniewski, it’s been a while since we’ve had a white Christmas. And we’re looking forward to many more to come.


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