The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, January 23, 2009

Presidential Biographies

At the White House site there is a slide show of the 44 presidents with brief biographies of each.

I was looking through the pictures, noticing things like when the first photos were taken, wondering why some of the paintings (or photos of paintings) are in black and white, wondering why they don't mention that James Buchanan, the 15th President, was gay.



What? Yes, gay. And it seemed pretty out in the open at the time.

In this book, Lies Across America, James Loewen disputes several things that we are taught in school, or brings up things that are true, but that are ignored.

One thing Loewen reveals is that at Wheaton, the historical home of President James Buchanan, his sexuality is denied. Buchanan was gay, and was partnered with Alabama Senator Rufus King for years. Read about it here . That link came from this post on Birmingham Blues about Tom Parker.

King was referred to as "Miss Nancy" and "Aunt Fancy." I can see that. Check him out.

While there are other writings that suggest Buchanan was gay, I like these snippets from the book.

When King was leaving for France in 1844 after being appointed Minister, he wrote to Buchanan,"I am selfish enough to hope that you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation."

And then Buchanan wrote to a Mrs. Roosevelt, "I am now 'solitary and alone', having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection."

Of course the concept of "gay" or having different sexual orientations was not known at the time, and there were no organized anti-gay groups to rally against them. The D. C. elite seemed to take it in stride, using such terms as "better half" and "his wife" in referring to King in relation to Buchanan.

And Buchanan had other things to worry about as president. He certainly left a mess for his successor, Abraham Lincoln, (who, we now know, was bisexual) to deal with.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them."

That is a familiar story for me. Happens at the Quest, at Pulse, at the Yacht Club.

Poor Buchanan, I know just how he feels.

olin blankenship said...

Anonymous, I once asked a wise friend how to find a gentleman to woo. Not hailing from Bessemer, I surmise that Quest, Pulse, and The Yacht Club are places where gentlemen congregate. If so, my friend's advice might apply here. My exact question was: How does one find a lover? His response? 'One does not find a lover, one simply stays ready for the time the lover appears'. Staying ready is the point. If you are ready there is a degree of contentment to be found in that. When your gentleman recognizes that you are ready that will make it all the easier for both of you. Further advice from another good friend: Chins up!
Olin Blankenship

kristi said...

Nobody knew about it b/c JUST LIKE TODAY, nobody would be honored or proud to have a gay president!!!

kristi said...

Buchanan has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the worst Presidents.

Joe said...

kristi,
he was not ranked that way because he was gay.

Over 60% of American voters would elect an openly-gay president, and even more would support an openly gay cabinet secretary, a poll conducted by Zogby International showed.

Zogby International surveyed 1,089 American adults from 13-15th August on behalf of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute (GLLI)

Chuck Wolfe, president of GLLI, said: "These results prove that most Americans want to be fair to gay people. This marks tremendous progress for our community and for the voting public.”

randy said...

There is not enough space or memory on this blog for me to list all the times that the Zogby Poll has been wrong, especially in some of our most recent elections. Everyone knows that polls are not scientific and this particular poll would give you totally different results depending on what time of day, what geographical locations, and what age group you polled. Personally, I think an openly gay president would be worse than the one we have now, who is running out of ink signing all of these executive orders. Can anyone say "socialism"???

Joe said...

"Everyone knows that polls are not scientific..."

Randy, it depends on the poll and how it is conducted. Many polls are scientific.

I seems that you would vote against someone based solely on their sexual orientation. That is no different from voting for someone solely based on race, something you have been very critical of.

Joe said...

Randy,
The comment you submitted broke a rule I mentioned, so it will not be published. But I have to say, this sentence, "I am NOT critical of voting for someone of a different race. I AM CRITICAL of voting for someone JUST BECAUSE they are a certain skin color."
made no sense at all. Think about it.