Quote of the Day:

In the immediate aftermath of the Presidential election, as it became necessary to process an appalling new reality—What does this mean for the undocumented? What does this mean for women? What does this mean for people of color? What does this mean for the economy, for the children, for the planet?—it seemed a tiny, trivializing thought: What does this mean for “Hamilton”?

–Rebecca Mead in the New Yorker


That is "Hamilton" the play, not Alexander Hamilton the man, perhaps the most cerebral of all the Founding Fathers, the genius who figured out how to repay the Revolutionary War debt, the first secretary of the Treasury, and creator of the national bank.

Hamilton was skeptical about immigration, arguing in The Federalist Papers that newcomers often remained to attached to their original countries. He also held a more favorable view of monarchy than your average Founding Father.

On the plus side, however, Hamilton was born out of wedlock in the West Indies, which is very culturally sensitive.

I admit that I haven't seen "Hamilton," but I' have entertained the thought that Hamilton was an unlikely choice as the hero of a rap musical. But, hey, if you can rap The Federalist Papers, more power to you.

Rebecca Mead, however, sees that play (and perhaps Hamilton himself, if she relies solely on the play for her historical perspective), as belonging to the Obama years. She was appalled that the barbarian Mike Pence would dare show up to watch the play–the horror! (It should also be noticed that the vice president-elect still graciously said he enjoyed the play even after being subjected to a lecture by the cast). Mead claims the musical for President Obama:

Had the seductions of “Hamilton,” and its inspiring creative alignment with the arc of the Obama Presidency, lured us into a muzzy, misguided conviction that a sufficiency of American voters would wish to identify with its message of inclusivity and progress, just as Hillary Clinton had done by quoting from the musical in the concluding words of her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention?

Was the election “a vote against ‘Hamilton,’ ” as Niall Ferguson, the Harvard historian, argued in the Boston Globe, a mere week after votes were cast? Were those of us who had hailed the show’s revolutionary power when it opened at the Public Theatre, two years ago, to be left, after all, with nothing to fall back on but our over-listened-to cast albums, and a few Moana tweets? Well, maybe. But in the face of teen hijabis being harassed in Midwestern high schools, and swastikas being daubed upon Brooklyn playgrounds, it seemed beside the point to attempt to muster a line of argument either way. You know: Broadway problems.

TMead doesn't seem to think that Pence had a right to try to catch some of the alleged magic of "Hamilton:'

There was a scattering of applause, a preponderance of jeering and booing, and—in the case of the overheard question “Who is this man?,” presumably from a foreign tourist—enviably ignorant befuddlement. At the conclusion of the performance, during the curtain call, Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, stepped forward and made an unusual reference to the Vice-President-elect’s attendance.

Requesting that the audience members cease their booing, Dixon also invited them to turn on their phones to record and disseminate a message to Pence that had been crafted by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s composer and writer, Thomas Kail, its director, and Jeffrey Seller, its lead producer. “We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir,” Dixon said, reading from a piece of paper. “But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

The cast of "Hamilton" cast doesn't have a monopoly on American values.

Mead's commentaryon the election and Pence's Broadway visit is as detached from reality as the musical, based on what I've read about it, is detached from the real Alexander Hamilton. And that's saying something!

Nice touch that it was the guy who played Aaron Burr who lectured Pence.