- It's a "local" story (for the NYT) as well as a global one.
- It wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last, time that multiple stories about the terrible misdeeds of our erstwhile President-elect will break at once. We have got to get better prepared for this. Hopefully we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and pay attention to GOP political assault strategies on multiple fronts.
- Hamilton isn't just any old piece of entertainment. It's a dramatic re-interpretation of the story of one of America's Founding Fathers, who among other things helped champion the Constitution, develop the country's financial system, was a senior aide to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, first Secretary of the Treasury, etc. Part of the outcome of Election 2016 is arguably related to the erosion of our widespread civic appreciation of the nation's founding ideals; so an already poignant symbol of the early political philosophy of the United States has become even moreso recently.
- The historical resonance of Hamilton deepens the "local" interest even further to inhabitants of New York City and state: The Federalist Papers were first published in 3 local newspapers, as part of Alexander Hamilton's famous mission to convince the Anti-Federalist Governor George Clinton to ratify the new Constitution. He had represented NY at the Constitutional Convention, and devised The Federalist as a way to counteract a series of Anti-Federalist essays critical of the new document being circulated in New York papers. At the time, most of the series of 85 essays were addressed, "To the People of the State of New York."
- The musical version of Alexander Hamilton's contribution to our political heritage is an intentionally diverse retelling of a story whose original "cast" was mostly white; again, it's difficult to imagine a more compelling symbolism of the very issues facing our nation right now.
- Broadway is super duper hella gay. Pence is known for supporting gay conversion-therapy programs -- including allocating public taxpayer dollars to the controversial practice that is currently banned in 5 states. Who cares if Pence was kicking the hornet's nest on purpose: to not react at all would have been a missed opportunity.
- Hamilton has an emotional resonance that is already built-in; the NYTimes knew that diehard fans of the show (and the outer concentric circles of folks who can't even get tickets but want to) would be interested in this news, and they were right. How paternalistic do we feel we really need to get in terms of "policing" what stories people should hear about (and who decides what those are? Well, that question has an answer: it's the editors of the New York Times et al) vs. the ones they clearly do want to hear about? (That question doesn't have an answer, and will be wrestled with for as long as there are people and there is media)
- President-elect Trump's response to the incident carries both an insult to art and the stench of censorship -- demanding an apology from the cast continues DJT's long-lasting ignorance regarding the First Amendment's protections for such things, and in terms of the kinds of policies we can expect given his disregard and content for humanities education, reminds us we need to brace ourselves for an all-out conservative murder spree on arts funding, arts education (and humanities education more broadly), free speech, arts industries, etc. It is important to thwart this, and one way in which we can do that is to appreciate our talented folks in the arts: and Broadway is certainly no slouch in that department. And Lin-Manuel Miranda is a friggin' genius. For the President-elect to insult his work is well, an insult -- not just to Miranda, but to all of us who take pride in the country's creative capital.
- It's a powerful public act of non-violent resistance that, when shared, gives permission and comfort to others who seek to mount resistance efforts against the incoming administration. If we're being honest, reading yet another bullet point in a long litany of dubious or outright criminal ethics over the tenure of his real estate career just isn't going to motivate people to act against Trump in the same way that engaging with something near and dear to their hearts will.
I see some arguing that the #Hamilton episode is detracting from the more important Trump University settlement. 1/— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) November 19, 2016
I think that assessment is wrong. Hamilton's cast directly taking on bigotry in living form of Mike Pence is far more important 2/— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) November 19, 2016
And while $25M settlement may seem disqualifying, it's not. And won't matter. What matters is people unifying in common cause to #resist 4/— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) November 19, 2016
It strengthens the will of anyone worried about public protest. "If the Hamilton actors can do, so can we!" 6/— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) November 19, 2016
A President who lost the majority of votes is already weak. But one who is widely despised by the drivers of that culture? Weaker still. 8/— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) November 19, 2016
Public shaming is powerful in any venue. From the stage of Hamilton? That's a marker that will stand for years and embolden us to #resist 9/— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) November 19, 2016