I have hope in Hamilton! I have hope in humanity! I have hope in the USA!
This July 4th I watched patriotic, uplifting musicals from dawn to dusk. Hamilton, followed by Sound of Music, followed by Hamilton, followed by Yankee Doodle Dandy, followed by Hamilton yet again. Then I read on CNN an opinion piece that Hamilton did not age well. In my best Lin Manuel during Cabinet Battle #2 “Are you out of your ### #### mind”. Here are five reasons Hamilton is quintessential American, quintessential human, and resonates and resounds.
1. Hamilton is a work of staggering genius! I love anyone who can take a tome like Chernow’s Hamilton and turn it into a work of artistic genius. Do not get me wrong. I read Chernow’s Hamilton from cover to cover and as a history buff, I loved it. But how Lin Manuel could turn that book into 20+ songs ranging from rap (Hamilton, Not Giving Away My Shot, etc.) to ballad (Quiet Uptown, Burn) to Pop Song (Helpless, Schuyler Sisters, Wait for It), to Broadway classic (All King George songs) is beyond me. And just so you do not think I am confining to my enthusiasm to this blog. I stood up at the beginning of intermission at Hamilton and embarrassed my kids by shouting “This is a work of staggering genius!”. This got some head turns but mainly high fives from those around me. Lin Manuel is a modern-day Shakespeare! So, take that CNN!
2. Immigrants, we get the job done! This country was built by immigrants. Hamilton is the prototypical immigrant, who built this country. He was young, scrappy and hungry, and refused to give away his shot! My Great Grandfather Charles Henry came here during the Irish Potato famine and built a life in the US. He built a life by the sweat of his brow and love of this country. One thing I will always remember is he tried to enlist at the age of 50+ during WW II and was denied due to his age! My great uncles fought with Patton in WW II. We are a country of immigrants that get the job done! Read my blog from a past July 4th on the topic here: America the Beautiful But Broken: A Prescription and a Promise (Re-post)
3. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I get the gist of the CNN critique of Hamilton. Yes, the founding fathers punted on the question of slavery. But I do not agree that they should not be celebrated. Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton and others set in motion this fundamental truth. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” They were men of their times but had the moral courage to set in motion a belief that resounds through history. We as humans are fallible. But as humanity we progress. Only when we forget the creator, and the fact that there is something that bonds us together beyond the color of our skin do we diverge from the arc of justice. Fight for the arc! Bend, love and do not break.
4. Diversity in opinion, breeds innovation and progress. One thing that really resonated in Hamilton was the diversity. The play had diversity of race, but I am talking about the diversity in opinion of our founding leaders. I absolutely love the diversity expressed in the Cabinet Battles and the whole play. We are free to express our divergent opinions in the USA. They drive us forward, even at times we may take a step back. But please in Civil Discourse not in duels. Barbara Jordan taught me Civil Discourse Ms. Jordan’s Lessons on Civil Discourse No more Quiet Uptowns. Let us resound the valleys and peaks with liberty and love!
5. Last reason is personal. I love Hamilton. I love the genius of our nation. That despite the fallibility of human nature, that we progress. We love. We wallow in angst but lead. I love this country with all its flaws but most of all its genius. I HAVE HOPE IN HAMILTON!!!!!!