Our Diverse America



Haylie Book | Assistant Opinion Editor

Hamilton is a hit broadway musical about our founding fathers, who immigrated to the United States and helped build the nation that we are able to call our home today. Let me emphasize this point again: our founding fathers, who immigrated to the United States. This is why it came as a shock when Mike Pence, our vice president elect who on many occasions has declared his contempt of immigrants, attended a showing of Hamilton a few weeks ago. As anyone who is a fan of Hamilton knows, the main cast members are comprised completely of minority groups in society. Due to Pence’s intense views on the issue of immigration, the minority Hamilton cast members decided to use this opportunity to address Pence on his beliefs.

A video of this was put on social media everywhere. The Hamilton Instagram page posted a transcript of exactly what the cast had said to Pence. After their performance, one member stepped forward and essentially begged Pence to consider the “diverse America” when making influential decisions once in office. They said, “We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us.” Afterwards, Trump responded angrily, declaring the Hamilton cast to “apologize!” It is up for debate whether the message was rude and disrespectful or polite and diplomatic, as everybody will have their own opinions on the matter.

Nonetheless, theatre is all about expressing opinions, opening minds, and sharing ideas. It is about finding a voice that needs to be heard, and communicating that voice to as many people as possible. Hamilton happens to have a rather large voice. They also happen to represent a diverse America. They were not going to throw away their shot to articulate their worries, so they used their voice to take a stand against an issue that directly affects them, their families, and their worlds. This is their right under the first amendment, which gives them freedom of speech.

Pence, and even more so Trump, are going to be leaders of the amazing nation that we get to reside in. Hamilton is all about the development of this nation, and the cast represents a group of people in society that are often looked over and, in Trump and Pence’s case, discriminated against. They addressed their concern for themselves, their friends, and their families. They used their voices to speak out and try to open minds and share ideas. This is the whole point of theatre, right?

There was a #boycottHamilton hashtag on Twitter following this incident, filled with thousands of Trump supports announcing they were refusing to see the show after the matter. Honestly, these are probably the people who need to see the show more than ever. This musical shows us all that America was built from the ground, not by “pure-blood Americans” (what are those, anyway?), but by immigrants. While the founding fathers may not have actually been minorities themselves, they were indeed immigrants. They started this nation to find a place of freedom – for the people, by the people.

Before you refuse to see the musical just because Trump is unhappy with citizens expressing their freedom of speech, think again. This musical does everything theatre is meant to do, and more. It expresses opinions, opens minds, and shares ideas. It connects history to relevant issues in today’s world. It forces you to open your own mind and challenges your beliefs. Regardless of how Trump feels about the cast addressing Pence, the real issue is Trump and Pence’s views on our diverse America – a point that Hamilton not only touches, but hammers home.

Photo by Haylie Book