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ďWe push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable.Ē
Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote in his hip-hop Broadway show Hamilton. Itís a show America needs to embrace rather than push away. It provides context when much of whatís happening in our country today needs context. Families need context. Bathrooms need context. Even singing our national anthem needs context. But Hamilton needs context.
Hamilton is a musical written by an immigrant, about immigrants, with one of the most diversified Broadway cast ever, principally immigrants. Hamilton is about America. That should not be a complicated contextualization when you consider America was built, refined and democratized by immigrants. Miranda who created it understood and accepted this context has become unimaginable.
Eight years ago, no one could have imagined a hip-hop Broadway show riveting the public into a frenzy itís not seen in years. Theater purists would think Rodgers & Hammerstein would be turning over in their respective graves rather than snapping their fingers like Michelle Obama did when Miranda performed the opening number in the White House eight years before Hamilton opened on Broadway. And for many people who wondered who the actor who spoke to Pence as the Vice-President elect left the theater, it was one of three black actors who plays George Washington. Part of a cast who hopes none of its people will be siphoned into some silos of introspective silence other than the rust belt and forgotten. Itís all in the context. Immigrants built this country. Immigrants are this country. And actors representing immigrants make Hamilton our America
Consider this context. Alexander Hamilton was an orphaned bastard; an adulterer yet confidante to Washington. He was shot to death by Aaron Burr, an elite moralist and a politician not nearly as honorable as Hamilton. The story leaps around the stage with truth and transparency freed by its truths. Itís a show about a country torn because they are tired of paying homage to a leader who has lost touch with its people. Hamilton is about America as it once was.
Our country is at a pivotal point. Families donít sit down at dinner to eat with their children any longer. Blended families are the norms. We canít even go to the bathroom without a discourse on which bathroom some people can use. And saying you canít interpret the national anthem and spiritualize it as Aretha Franklin did at a football game in Detroit is another way of pushing away what we refuse to understand. We donít even want to understand it.
For those of you who heard what happened when Mr. Pence attended the show, do you know the real story? Or do you look for the low hanging tweets that are out of context? The show is the context. Itís what the entire revolution was all about as the actor said to Mr. Pence: ďdo not forget to include all of us.Ē Isnít that what we all want? Is that too unimaginable. Or is this a different America than the one Hamilton is all about?