Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence went to Broadway last night to see Hamilton. The cast ended the show with a message for him and for all of our Trumpist leaders:
— Hamilton (@HamiltonMusical) November 19, 2016
Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical. We really do…. 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, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Thank you [Brandon Dixon, statement from the stage, quoted in Sophie Tatum and Karl de Vries, “‘Hamilton’ Cast Urges Pence to ‘Uphold Our American Values’,” CNN.com, 2016.11.19].
I love theater. I recognize theater’s important role, like all literature, in provoking us to think about and live up to our ideals. Pence’s boss does not:
On Saturday, President-elect Donald Trump accused theatre-goers of having “harassed” Pence, writing on Twitter: “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!”
He also demanded an apology: “The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” [Joanna Walters, “Trump Demands Apology from Hamilton Cast After Mike Pence Booed,” The Guardian, 2016.11.19]
Citizens publicly criticizing their elected leaders, urging them to govern for all Americans, and documenting the event—yes, Donald, how rude. How harassing. How unsafe. Curse that First Amendment and the Founding Fathers who gave it to us to give you heartburn.