How did I Miss That? James Buchanan’s Interesting Inauguration; Cherokee Same-Sex Marriage Fiasco

In 2004, Cherokee citizens were legally married, but it took 13 years for the Cherokee same-sex marriage to be recognized.

The day after Trump, The New York Times recycled coverage from every inauguration since the Gray Lady went on watch in 1853. For some reason, my thoughts strayed to the POTUS who frittered away the last opportunities to avoid the Civil War, the perennial cellar dweller in presidential history, James Buchanan.

“Mr. Buchanan sighed audibly, and frequently,” the Times reporter wrote, “but whether from reflection upon the failure of his Administration, I can’t say. Mr. Lincoln was grave and impassive an Indian martyr.”

As a what?


I can think of a couple of Indian martyrs, but they were just recently reprieved according to a report in The Cherokee Phoenix.

When I was growing up in the Muscogee Creek Nation it was joked that overeducated Creeks became poets and overeducated Cherokees became lawyers and the relative merits of those pursuits were whacked around to the amusement of all.

I guess I showed my confusion when I became both a poet and a lawyer, but mostly a lawyer fascinated by the resistance to the invading barbarians put up by Chief John Ross in the courts. My family hero was Houston Benge Teehee, the lawyer who smacked the United States over theft of the Cherokee Outlet. I was told my namesake was Cherokee District Judge Stephen Teehee—which turned out not to be true, but kids believe what they believe.


In short, I start proud of the rap about overeducated Cherokees, and that only deepened the ignominy in 2004 with a Cherokee same-sex marriage story. Cherokee citizens Kathy Reynolds and Dawn McKinley got a lawful marriage license from their tribal nation, got married, but found their way back to the courthouse blocked by half-educated hucksters who have convinced themselves that Jesus said something about gay marriage and Cherokee law should care if he had. Keeping the two women from filing their executed marriage license became a front in the culture wars.

Two women seeking to solemnize their relationship became the objects of 12 years, eight months and a day of oppression by alleged lawyers who never learned the difference between a law book and a Bible. The Cherokee Nation staved off the filing of the executed license even as other Oklahoma tribes proved able to find their traditions to resolve the same question before the U.S. did.

While the Cherokee Nation stewed in the same hatred disguised as religion as the rest of the Bible Belt, the U.S. courts meandered toward gay marriage, finally arriving in 2015.

In a belated attempt to lance the festering boil of bigotry he helped create, Cherokee Attorney General Todd Hembree sucked up the 2015 ruling of the colonial courts to sooth the hurts that never would have been inflicted in the first place if we Cherokee lawyers were all we claim to be.

It would be an interesting factoid to know how many opposite sex couples in the Cherokee Nation got married and divorced in the almost 13 years two innocent Cherokee women had to wait for justice from “their” institutions.


The burden of the hurt caused our sisters is too heavy for a mere lawyer, and I end up turning to one of those Muscogee Creek poets, Joy Harjo:

My brother-in-law hung out with white people, went to law school with a perfect record, quit. Says you can keep your laws, your words. And practiced law on the street with his hands. He jimmied to the proverbial dream girl, the face of the moon, while the players racked a new game.

He bragged to us, he told her magic words and that when she broke, became human.

But we all heard his voice crack:

What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?

That's what I'd like to know, what are we all doing in a place like this?

I think Harjo means a place where we roll our own martyrdom and cannot pretend we didn’t know better.


It was an insult and international incident not quite as grave as when Michelle Obama touched Queen Elizabeth, when the Kenyan usurper in the White House moved the bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office and into the President’s residence. His insult to a major ally was justified by making room for lesser lights, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.

The Hill reported that President Trump rectified the insult on his first day in office. While at first not denying that the busts switched places, the White House had no comment on whether Honest Abe or MLK got stuck holding the toilet paper.


With all of the Trumpness breaking out, I had to check The Daily Stormer for comment. Head Stormer Andrew Anglin was on point as usual:

Our Glorious Leader has ascended to God Emperor. Make no mistake about it: we did this….. (T)he White race is back in the game.

As amusing as the deification of The Donald, Mr. Anglin appears to be picking up another Trump habit of being unable to loosen his grip when he has his fist in a warm bag of excrement.

Had he turned loose, it would no longer be news that Anglin said of New Balance U.S.-made athletic shoes, “I see New Balances now becoming the official shoes of White people” but he had to continue a public fight with the corporation, declaiming that the corporate press statement rejecting racial immortality was faked.

“The official shoes of White people,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller whistled. “And New Balance turned it down? They could have been right up there with big trucks, big hair, bleached blondes, Wonder Bread, hotless jalapeños, reruns of Father Knows Best, and rhythm and blues tunes interpreted by Pat Boone!”

Sensing an opportunity to pull Ray’s leg big time, I started in on Pat Boone’s well known descent from Cherokee royalty and then offered this up to prove my point….had him going for almost four seconds.


The White House can’t seem to reach an armistice in the Twitter Wars, and the Trump appointed Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, is not the guy to send in for negotiations. Before being appointed spokesman for the most powerful human being on the planet, The Daily Mail reported that Spicer conducted a five year Twitter war against ice cream.


Representing a rival public relations outfit, Spicer attacked Dippin’ Dots for claiming in 2010 to be “the ice cream of the future.” He hammered them again in 2011 when they were on Donald Trump’s well trodden path of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization according to The Wall Street Journal.

The persistent warrior hit Dippin’ Dots one more time in 2015 for “running out of vanilla” at Washington Nationals games.


By then, Spicer would already have opened a new front in 2014 with this aggressive tweet: “Daft Punk -- this is your 10 seconds in the spotlight - u r blowing it #GRAMMYs #Grammys2014.”

“Oh,” the light dawned on Cousin Ray, “Daft Punk is a band? I thought we were about to learn how the man experienced in multi-front Twitter Wars got hooked up with Donald Trump.”


When not immortalizing Twitter feuds, I’ve taught both undergraduates and graduates about legal regulation of human sexuality. The graduates are easy—we just shuck our togs and get after it (JOKE, dammitohell, IT’S A JOKE) but with undergraduates a little humor is required to break the ice, such as:

During my lifetime, grasshoppers, I have seen criminal laws applicable to married people against anal sex, oral sex—basically any kind of sex except vaginal intercourse between married heterosexual partners not more than once a week in the missionary position with the lights off.


These laws were toast in the legal reasoning sense after Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) struck down criminalizing birth control on right to privacy grounds. It was Planned Parenthood getting prosecuted, so the political punching bag role comes naturally to them.

Combine the right to sexual privacy and the World Wide Web and you get “virginity auctions” as common phenomena. In 2012 a woman and a man did it back to back. Her virginity went for $480,000 and his for $3,000, demonstrating cyberspace might be outside vice laws but not outside the law of supply and demand.

I finally noticed the weird look on Cousin Ray’s face, which remained until I clarified, “it was the auctions that were back to back.”

Of course, virginity auctions have died down since Donald Trump’s brought the highest price in the history of online fundraising. That’s as true as President Trump’s Inaugural Address having the largest audience in all of U.S. history.

Sean Spicer said so.