So let me get this straight. Monday’s column, which gave you free cell phone calls to China, drew 259 “likes” and yesterday’s – where I took the day off – drew 288.
Okey-dokey. Be that way.
Roberta Taussig: “I can’t see the ‘Like’ button. I’d happily press it. Can you ask your Webmaster whether there’s some incompatibility between your ‘Like’ button and the Chrome browser?”
☞ Others reported the same problem. I happen to know that thousands read this page every morning, so I can confidently state, given that 259 like it when I write something and 288 like it when I don’t, thousands of you don’t much care for it either way.
Meanwhile, do you know how a lot of people have a quote of some kind as part of their email signature? I enjoy them.
Roberta, above, signs off: “Most people would like to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch. – Robert Orben.” I like that.
And I love Mark L.’s: “I am nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore, I am perfect!”
Ken Doran: “You ask, ‘Does this refer to today’s column alone?’ Yes; you must earn your like 5/52. ‘Does it accumulate over time?’ No; see above. ‘Do I win a prize at some point?’ Yes; the opportunity to pursue like 5/52. ‘Do you win a prize?’ Yes; but please don’t ask what it is. Finally, you write, ‘I like you, too.’ You are to be commended on your good judgment; but see No. 1 above.”
Gray Chang: “Where’s the ‘Dislike’ button? (just kidding).”
GAYS IN THE MILITARY
Mr. President, Washington and Franklin thank you
By Mark Segal
When President Obama signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” he might have felt the ghosts of Founding Fathers George Washington and Benjamin Franklin smiling over his shoulder. They might have even whispered in his ear, “It’s about time.”
History clearly recalls that the Revolutionary Army was a rag-tag band of men with little to no military training. We fumbled through the beginning of the war of independence with lack of training, conduct and organization. Washington knew that, without help, the Colonies would lose. Since Washington himself was the best this nation had, he looked to Europe for someone who could bring order to the troops. To that end, Washington wrote the Colonies’ representative in Paris at the time, Franklin, to see what he could find.
Franklin learned of a Prussian military genius, Lt. Gen. Friederich von Steuben, who’d had a string of successes with numerous armies across Europe. There was one problem: Various kingdoms of Europe had asked von Steuben to depart because of his “affections for members of his own sex.” And while Franklin was interviewing him, the situation became somewhat hectic as members of the French clergy decided to make a crusade and drum him out of France.
Franklin had a choice here, and he decided von Steuben’s expertise was more important than his sexual orientation. He and another colony representative, Silas Deane, acted quickly before the clergy could deport von Steuben and sent him to the Colonies to serve with Washington.
Once the lieutenant was here, Washington was concerned about von Steuben’s lack of English, so he appointed two of his officers who spoke French to work as translators. One of those officers was Alexander Hamilton and the other was his close friend Henry Laurens. Some historians claim the two were lovers — but that’s another column.
Washington and Franklin’s trust in von Steuben was realized as he taught the troops the essentials of military drills, tactics and disciplines, including how to effectively use a bayonet and organizing a military camp. He authored the “Revolutionary War Drill Manual,” which became the standard drill manual until the War of 1812, and served as Washington’s chief of staff in the final years of the Revolutionary War. He was part of Washington’s inner circle, and a major factor in the victory of the Colonies. And that, my friends, is why gay history is important. And a fun read.
Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media, having recently received the 2010 Columnist of the Year Award from the 2,000-member Suburban Newspapers of America. He can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now that we’re on the verge of allowing our gay sons and daughters to fight and die for our country, there us talk of affording them the same right to marry as anyone else.
Which is just the next step in the long evolution of marriage, according to this interesting piece in the Washington Post. Snippets:
. . . For millennia, marriage was about property and power rather than love. Parents arranged their children’s unions to expand the family labor force, gain well-connected in-laws and seal business deals.
. . . A husband couldn’t cede any rights to his wife, said the courts, ‘because that would presuppose her separate existence,’ according to Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws.
. . . In 1964, . . . an article in a journal of the American Medical Association described beating as a “more or less” satisfactory way for an “aggressive, efficient, masculine” wife to “be punished for her castrating activity” and for a husband to “re-establish his masculine identity.”
. . . Support for same-sex marriage is already higher than support for interracial marriage was in 1970, three years after the Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws. And since young adults ages 18 to 29 are the group most supportive of same-sex marriage, it is largely a matter of when, rather than if, a majority of Americans will endorse this extension of marriage rights.
Tomorrow: four new mutual funds for your consideration.