We hear political pundits saying it is a mistake to compromise. It is important to hold firm on principles, but in most instances, it is possible to reach consensus. There are multiple examples, starting with our founding fathers, of people in government that held very firm views on various issues, but made compromises to reach consensus.
The election of Barack Obama was the Lexington and Concord in the latest great battle of race in America. We are a nation at war with itself. For all of our desire to move beyond the narrow confines of many of the events of our tragic history, we cannot. The president's election gave new life to what had been lying dangerously dormant for the better part of 50 years.
Why we now view Franklin as modern instead of old-fashioned says a lot about how we view our national narrative of the history of sexuality. Historians of sexuality have long argued that the story of American sexuality isn't a simplistic arc that bends toward increased freedoms and progress for all.
This is why the religious right lost the battle on gay marriage. They erroneously believed that the common American value system was their religious beliefs. It wasn't. Our nation's value system is a belief -- often inconsistently held, but one held nonetheless -- that individual rights and individual liberty matter.