Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents' Day

When people in the U.S. think of Presidents' Day, they mostly think of car dealers and those ads featuring a bewigged George Washington.  I actually think about all our former presidents and ponder a deeply historical question:  Which ones were gay?

Historian Jim Loewen wholeheartedly believes that our fifteenth president, James Buchanan, was a Friend of Dorothy long before there was a Dorothy.  Buchanan, a lifelong bachelor, served from 1857 to 1861.  Two years ago Loewen wrote, "There can be no doubt that James Buchanan was gay, before, during and after his four years in the White House. Moreover, the nation knew it, too — he was not far into the closet."

Unfortunately, Buchanan is uniformly considered one of the worst presidents we ever had.  Indecisive and out of touch, his fecklessness helped bring on the Civil War.  Now there's an accomplishment.

Buchanan was succeeded by a fellow often described as our greatest president.  His name was Lincoln.  And some historians believe ol' Abe had his own streak of rainbow . . .