In the news this weekend, Vice President-elect Mike Pence managed to score tickets to Hamilton and, SURPRISE, the audience reacted with a mixture of applause and boos as he entered the theater. The cast of Hamilton proved to be some pretty classy people with this message to Mr. Pence as he was leaving.
Of course, surprise, surprise, our President-elect took to Twitter demanding apologies for the harassment of his man because the theater must always be a safe and special place much like a movie theater, a shopping mall, a college campus, a workplace, a grocery store, an elementary school…and even a park, a park and playground where children should be able to play…to play in a safe and special place.
All Americans certainly do deserve the right to enjoy feeling safe in special places. Places where we can bring our children and grandchildren.
And a theater? Well. Surrounded by a Secret Service detail, Mr. Pence was undoubtedly very safe, as were the rest of the people in the Richard Rogers Theater last night as they enjoyed the show. But safe theater is essentially dead theater. A show about American Revolution history, idealistic men and women, immigrants and politics…messy, messy politics that sometimes happens in backrooms where the sausage gets made. Pence, I imagine, was provoked not only by the audience reaction to his entering the room where it happened, but also by the play itself and what was a very respectful statement from the cast thanking him for his attendance. Some argue that any whisper of politics did not belong at the end of a musical about American history and politics in their statement during the curtain call asking him to remember that “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. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
Hardly. Not when one is a public figure and duly elected to represent the interests of ALL the people, not just those with Trump written on their Starbucks cups who promise to boycott a popular musical with a months-long wait list to buy tickets. The noise Mr. Trump and his Trumpeters might post all over social media might distract us briefly from things like the emoluments clause of The Constitution or that Mr. Trump settled his Trump University fraud case against him, but only briefly.
Get used to it, Mr. Trump, Mr. Pence and your surrogates. As long as the First Amendment is there people will speak and sometimes speak very loudly because, thankfully, our Founding Fathers put such rights into place for us ALL to enjoy in our safe and special places.
I think everybody has the ability to affect change…through our every thought our every word, the way that we interact with other people. We are constantly affecting the world.