Hamilton / Pence / Context
I had been having a conversation with someone on facebook regarding the recent speech by "Aaron Burr" written by Lin Manuel Miranda. He spoke this speech addressing VP elect Mike Spence who attended a recent performance of Hamilton, on Broadway. He was very disturbed by the speech and we commenced on a discussion on facebook. However, when he devolved the conversation calling the team sanctimonious and condescending, I decided I should continue the conversation here rather than continue on facebook. The following is the transcript of the speech:
Thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening. And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you're walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments. There's nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen. There's nothing to boo here, we're all here sharing a story of love.
We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out. And I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, OK?
Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical, we really do. We, sir, we 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. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.
Again, we truly thank you for sharing this show. This wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men [and] women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.
Many people have protested, complained, spewed vitriol against the cast for using their freedom of speech. Mike Pence wasn't offended. Here is what he had to say on CBS Face the Nation this morning, 11/20/16. “I wasn’t offended by what was said, I’ll leave to others whether it was the appropriate venue to say it,” he said. “But I want to assure people who were disappointed in the election results, people who are feeling anxious about this time in the life of our nation, that President-elect Donald Trump meant exactly what he said on election night, that he is going to be the president of all the people of the United States of America.”
However, Mr. Trump used the words to ignite a protest regarding the right of the cast and crew to express their point of view. The President elect incited his followers with the following tweets: "Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!" Click any of the following sites to see what the news outlets had to say: The New York Times. The Huffington Post. The Washington Post.
Each of the news outlets pretty much say the same thing. The response of Pence was one of understanding, not taking it personally, reassuring the nation that a Trump presidency would be for ALL the people, just what the actors and crew were asking for. However, Trump used it as an opportunity to go to the Twittersphere and spew divisive rhetoric.
One of the comments I made to the man on facebook was to note that perhaps the rhetoric was designed to quiet the "Those uppity hispanics and blacks need to be quiet and not exercise their freedom of speech."
My take is that the producers were requesting a fair America that addresses the needs of all Americans. It is as simple as that.
Mike Pence was able to listen and figure that out.
I used the word CONTEXT in the header. Here's why.
I am not a white male. Heck I am not male. I cannot truly understand what the experience is of a man. Any man. I try to understand. We live in a patriarchy, a white male patriarchy, I am trained to think like men in the patriarchy, but I cannot truly know what it is to be a man.
I cannot know what it is to be a black person living in America.
I cannot know what it is to be a hispanic person living in America.
I cannot know what it is to be a disabled person living in America.
I don't know what it is like to be a transgendered person.
I don't know what it is like to be an orthodox Muslim or Hasidic Jew.
I can't possibly know. I can only know my own experience.
For me to judge or complain about another person is ludicrous. How the heck do I know their experience? My job is to get to know others so I can at least attempt to understand their challenges.
Someone once said to me "travel is the best antidote for bigotry."
I agree wholeheartedly. I also think "talking to another person to gain understanding," is another antidote for bigotry.