THE BLOG
11/21/2016 10:26 am ET Updated Nov 21, 2017

Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Boycott

I finally had the privilege to see "Hamilton" on Broadway a couple of weeks ago. With all the hype and trophy's collected, it was hard to collate what my expectations were. That said, it was a fantastic performance, exceptionally written and relevant to me, quite historically accurate. Inspired by Ron Chernow's beyond brilliant Hamilton biography, writer, creator, and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda miraculously retrieved, in my opinion, one of our top five most relevant founding fathers from the obscurity to most of the American population.

Even some of significant prominence seem nescient to the enduring influence Alexander Hamilton has had on the structure of our banking and financial system in general, and particularly, through his authorship of at least 51 of 84 of the Federalist Papers, the ratification of the Constitution itself. Much earlier in 2016, Secretary of Treasury, Jacob Lew had, in the interest of fairness, political correctness, and more fairness, slated for the dustbin, the visage of Mr. Hamilton on our ten dollar bill. As the power of success engenders friends in high places, Secretary Lew hosted Mr. Miranda in Washington, who acted as a mouthpiece to elucidate and forward to Mr. Lew many of the salient Hamilton ingredients chronicled by biographer Ron Chernow. Whether through duress of public opinion or a genuine change of heart from his recent schooling, Mr. Lew granted to Mr. Hamilton, an indefinite stay from the executioner's sword. (FYI; the latest, is former white slave-owning former President Andrew Jackson has been banished from center stage on the twenty dollar bill, to be supplanted with black civil war underground railroad hero Harriet Tubman).

Unbeknownst to me at the time, simmering underneath all the jolliness of my recent theater experience, within the cast of the play, there exists a cauldron of bitterness, a unanimous fraternal anger at our president-elect, Mr. Donald Trump. After suffering the indignity of a chorus of boos (concurrent with some cheers) upon entering the theater Friday night, vice-president elect, Mike Pence was treated to an unexpected encore performance. With the entire troupe in standing behind in stoical support, lead actor (Aaron Burr) Brandon Victor Dixon proclaimed:

"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," he said. "We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us."

Let's set aside the egregious inappropriateness of using a venue, where in many cases the audience has paid more than $1,000 to relax and enjoy a theatrical event, for any stripe of political discourse.
It is a beautiful oxymoron that this divisive speech emphasized diversity as a holy grail when the original casting call sought "non-white" performers only. I could care less, but aspiring producers are warned of advertising for "white only" actors.

Miranda had the brilliant idea of recounting a critical slice of America's history which included only white men by using alternative races. This device combined with his unique talent to use the genre of rap perfectly captures the zeitgeist in America. Multiculturalism is promulgated throughout the media and academia as some postmodern solution to expiate the imperialist sins of America's past.

Miranda drills in the assumption of America as a place built by immigrants; 100% correct. His next step is a subtle jab, an innuendo, that today's America has evolved to be an uninviting bigoted section of our planet. Being an immigrant or person of color is an end, in and of itself, deserving of some amorphous specialness.

The lacuna in the thesis is that Alexander Hamilton wasn't an immigrant in the way Miranda portrays him. Hamilton, fresh off a boat from Nevis, the bastard son of a whore, worked overtime to fit in the new America, to succeed, and not wear a button on his shirt, "I am an immigrant...I have my unique culture and customs, and you better respect them....I am a protected species because of my minority status". When the inevitable slurs regarding his background surfaced, there was no whining or cries of foul; he soldiered on and perhaps used the painful invectives to spur himself to even greater heights.

Soon enough, Alexander Hamilton was no longer an immigrant. He was simply an American. His assimilation transcended his past. Many, by no means all, of today's new arrivals, people of color, and other minorities, religious or otherwise, appear bent on keeping their status as "other" as a sort of sword in a scabbard, ready for use at the slightest perception of slight.

At what point do disparate groups integrate as Americans first and drop all the adjectives they use to separate themselves? Or does our country remain a fragmented cracked portrait of many small groups who never come together?

When does petty political correctness that invents racial slur, injustice, and prejudice behind every innocuous remark, yield to a more common sense approach? Axiom: The harder our country clings to jargon like "safe spaces," "micro-aggressions", "triggering," and "cultural appropriation" is in direct proportion to the difficulty being cured of this chronic illness. Corollary: Only when shoulder chips fall off hardened shoulders and all people become the color of water can our nation once again become the melting pot which is the source of our power.

The election results continue not to be fully processed by significant swaths of our populace. Actually, who knows what the real numbers are; the media, continuing the pre-election Trump vendetta, glorifies and persists in over publicizing any anti-Trump news.

Mr. Dixon, with no empirical data, invents impending doom to satisfy his liberal agenda of propagating the presumed racism of a Trump presidency. Perhaps he confuses proposals to enforce the rule of law with bigotry. However indecorous, no law precludes Mr. Dixon using his workplace as a pulpit; that is the pleasure of our democracy. Just as that is so, it is also my prerogative to espouse my thoughts on this abomination: Boycott "Hamilton."