In case you missed it, VP-elect Mike Pence went to Hamilton in New York on Friday night. And was booed by theater goers, hardly surprising since the show attracts a lot of the LGBT community, POC, and allies who champion them.
At the end of the show, the cast gave a statement about tolerance and pointed out that their cast’s diversity represents America – and hoped that this might change his POV.
The Trump Administration…. (meaning Donald Trump) tweeted that Pence was lectured and judged and demanded an apology. He later deleted one part of his twitter rant.
I have a lot I want to address.
Mike Pence was booed. He was not ejected from the theater. He wasn’t pushed or shoved. By all accounts, nobody did anything to him other than asking him to stay a moment to hear the cast’s thoughts. Which again, were kind, loving and hopeful, and reminded people that all were welcome at their show.
None of the things that happened are out of the norm for a politician anywhere. As a prominent politician, you are asked to hear things from differing points of view. You are often subjected to boos from people who disagree with you. And going to a pro-immigrant show about revolution (filled with minorities who urged the youth of America to vote against the man who won)? It’s not an entirely unexpected reaction. Especially given Pence’s political history.
So to act as though this was an insult of the highest degree? Either the Trump Administration is thin-skinned and not prepared for common and mostly respectful ways of expressing dissent, or they were trying to change the narrative.
The same day that Pence went to see Hamilton, it was announced that President-Elect Trump agreed to pay a $25 million settlement for the lawsuit alleging fraud with Trump University. Care to take a guess as to which story is dominating the media?
It isn’t the settlement.
If this is simply a twitter temper tantrum- I’m concerned about the potential ramifications of a President who will use Twitter to avoid the Press, rally supporters and then delete impulsive statements. His own campaign placed an emphasis on the importance of not deleting digital documentation – and like it or not, Twitter is the same thing. Deleting tweets is exactly the same as deleting emails. (Though I feel I should point out that deleting emails is something he was guilty of doing with his own business)
But if this was an attempt to manipulate the media against covering Trump’s shortcomings? That’s also something that people need to be aware of, especially since it seems to have worked. Freedom of the press is important. The press is considered the Fourth Estate – there to check against corruption in government. And while I think we can all agree that the modern state of press on television is pretty bad, it’s still important to have, even if journalism on TV is interested more in ratings.
Art is quite often a political work. It’s an artist’s reaction to many things, and Hamilton is a reaction to inequity in the way we remember our own history as well as the way we see our world currently.
Frankly, more people should engage with artwork that is in opposition to what they believe. It makes you think, it makes you challenge your own beliefs. And you grow as a person when you do that.
Instead Trump supporters are calling for a boycott of Hamilton – which is the easiest boycott there is. It’s impossible to get tickets to the show, so it takes zero effort to avoid it. (So far we’re two for two on failed boycott attempts, what with the Trump cup thing not actually doing anything more than giving Starbucks money) Maybe they should actually take a listen to the show, if nothing more that to get a listen and see what happens when a politician is so concerned with controlling their story and their legacy that they essentially destroy their own lives.
Edited to add: Please compare what happened with Pence to the Trump supporter who actually interrupted a performance in Chicago with profanities, showing great disrespect to the cast as well as everyone who paid to see the show. Nobody barred Pence from seeing the show or interrupted his viewing. Whether he was given tickets or bought them – he was allowed to experience the show the same as anyone else in that room.