Alexander Hamilton, Part 2

As I work my way through the biography of Alexander Hamilton (hopefully in advance of seeing Hamilton: An American Musical when it makes its stop in Salt Lake), I’ll be writing some thoughts about the book, or just thoughts about Hamilton in general. They won’t always be a direct critique of the book, but we’ll see what happens.

Alexander Hamilton wrote a lot. Three-quarters of the Federalist Papers. A report on public credit and the national bank. A pamphlet about an affair in an attempt to clear the air. Biographer Ron Chernow noted that Hamilton “must have produced the maximum number of words that a human can scratch out in 49 years.” If there were notes to be taken or thoughts about something, It was almost a guarantee that he wrote it down.

This was evidenced by his courtship of Elizabeth Schuyler. Granted, at the time, it wasn’t as if he could spend hours upon hours on the phone speaking with his future wife. For one, the telephone wasn’t yet invented; second, he was mostly away with the Army fighting the Revolutionary War as George Washington’s aide, so he didn’t really have a bunch of free time. Nevertheless, he wooed the young Eliza with his words on paper, sending her a letter nearly every day he was away (we know this because he chastised her for not keeping up with his prolific pace of letter writing). Continue reading

On the Eve of My 37th Birthday

In the past, I have written something in “celebration” of my birthday. Looking back now, I thought it was something that I had done more often, but alas, it was only like three years total: 2009 was a brief post from Fort Dix, NJ while we were getting ready to deploy to Iraq; 2012 was a reflection on that year on a month-to-month basis; last year, I made a list of “36 Things Learned in 36 Years,” so the history is not nearly as robust as I thought.

Nevertheless, I want to reflect on this past year, and maybe look forward to the next one. I am kind of loathe to write “resolution” posts – though I have done it before [20092011a; 2011b; 2013 (part 3 of 3 with links to the other parts); 2014; and 2015]. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that I want to change or improve in the next year, but I’d rather just tell everyone on my birthday next year that I was successful in the secret goals for 2018.

Continue reading

Leaving the Democratic Party

This may not mean anything to anybody, but today, I officially changed my voter registration from “Democrat” to “Unaffiliated.” So, for the first time since I registered to vote nearly 18 years ago, I am a man without a party. This day has been inevitable since Hillary Clinton lost in November, but it has been reinforced based on what I see from Democrats these days, on both the state and national level.

The Democrats just can’t seem to put the events of 2016 behind them. Discussions of pre-selecting candidates before conventions/primaries/caucuses to try and get the “best candidate” on the ballot seems kind of shady to me. The constant back and forth between  the supporters of Bernie Sanders (whom I voted for in our caucus last year) and Hillary Clinton (whom I voted for in November) is preventing the party from focusing on what they really need to focus on: competing against Republicans at all levels. Continue reading

On Honoring Our Fallen

Note: I often go on little rants on Twitter when the mood strikes instead of writing things here. As such, I’ve decided to go back and pull the threads and change them into blog posts, if only so this blog doesn’t sit completely fallow between times when I decide to post things. Plus, it will allow me to finish some thoughts that might not have been complete due to character limits on Twitter. Check out the tag “Twitter Rants” for all the posts like this. They will be posted on the date that I initially did the thread.

In the latest adventures of “Donald Trump is a Horrible President” this week, there was some controversy regarding the contacting of families of some fallen Soldiers that had died nearly two weeks ago during operations in Niger. Not only did he not acknowledge their deaths when they were announced – instead tweeting about the NFL or going golfing – but he also accused past presidents of never calling the families of Service Members that had died. This, as is most of what Trump says these days, was patently false, but it only snowballed from there. When reports surfaced of the phone call he had with one of the new Gold Star widows – basically stating to her in her moment of grief that her husband “knew what he had signed up for,” he reached a new low in his presidency.

I retweeted some threads about why his word usage probably wasn’t the best, but then I decided to write my own thread based on my experiences with dealing with funeral details from when I worked for the Army. The actual Twitter thread is below, but after that, I went back and expanded further on what I wrote now that I’ve had some time to think some more.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>THREAD (of my own): When I worked for the Army, I never had the honor of escorting a hero home, or even meeting them at the airport</p>&mdash; Robert 4 Clinton (@GuruEbby) <a href=”https://twitter.com/GuruEbby/status/920500061808746496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 18, 2017</a></blockquote>

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When I worked for the Army, I personally never had the honor of escorting a hero home, or even meeting them at the airport. I was a junior rank, in the Reserves, and it just wasn’t in the mission of our organization to do so. However, for a brief time during the “surge” – 2005-2008 or so, maybe a little later – the AGRs (full-time Reservists) that I worked with had to be ready for “funeral detail.” Continue reading