Mike Pence went to see “Hamilton” on Friday night, and because he is a horrible monster who has relentlessly dehumanized and opposed the rights of LGBTQ people and women, and will be the vice president in an administration that ran on a campaign of racial bigotry and misogyny, an administration that is now filling out with anti-Semites, racists, homophobes and Islamophobes, people booed him. The audience chose a completely reasonable and incredibly mild way to show displeasure with someone who has dedicated his political career to systematically disenfranchising millions of people.
At the play’s end, actor Brandon Victor Dixon, onstage with a cast that’s overwhelmingly made up of people of color, delivered a message to Pence, telling him Americans are deeply worried that the Trump “administration will not protect us, defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.” Dixon ended with a plea for Pence to “uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
It was a respectful statement about the very real fears of millions of Americans who have been disparaged by Trump’s entire campaign and those who have been targeted in attacks carried out by his supporters.
Not a single one of us needs to be scolded about the importance of safe spaces by an unhinged racist who has made this entire country an unsafe space for millions of people. This is the same guy who hasn’t made a single sincere effort to get his vicious and violent supporters to end their sustained campaign of harassment against people of color and other minorities. This is the same man who once said he’d like to punch a protester in the face; who encouraged people to attack reporters at his rallies; who told crowds that he longed for the days when peaceful protesters were “carried out on a stretcher”; who egged on his supporters’ aggression by telling them he would pay their legal fees if they were physically violent with protesters; and who is accused of actually harassing many women going back 40 years.
It’s clear that Trump plans to gaslight us all for the next four years. When his bald face lies and hypocrisy are revealed, as they are being right now and will be many times again, let’s definitely not be fooled or let him get away with it without calling it out.
Trump’s tweet ended with the demand that the “Hamilton” cast apologize. Thousands of his supporters—probably people who chanted “kill the bitch!” at his rallies—retweeted his message with no apparent irony.
First of all, the “Hamilton” cast should not apologize. Trump hasn’t apologized for running one of the most immoral campaigns in U.S. political history and assembling one of the most viciously anti-American teams in recent memory. Someone should send the “Hamilton” cast a medal and the key to every city.
As for Trump supporters threatening boycotts of the play, “Hamilton” is a hip-hop musical that recasts the founding fathers as people of color who rap all their dialogue. The drop-off in ticket sales to Trump supporters is the least of the production’s concerns. What’s more, it already has a waitlist a gazillion years long. No one cares they won’t be attending that show they never planned to attend in the first place.
Let me add that the people trying to shame the “Hamilton” cast right now—the Trump supporters who keep demanding we stop protesting and respect this unprepared, know-nothing president who has stocked his Cabinet with racists and woman-haters—are the same people who cheered when Mitch McConnell said the main agenda for Republicans was to deny President Obama a second term before he’d even gotten into office. They are the same people who ate it up when total cretin and garbage person Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!” at the president during the State of the Union; when generally awful and immoral immigrant-basher Jan Brewer disrespectfully thrust her finger into the president’s face; when teabaggers were carrying protest signs displaying their racism or burning effigies in the president’s image. They just voted for a man who’s spent years and years disrespecting President Obama at every turn, usually by invoking the birther lie.
Sorry, but none of them gets to try to pretend to be a decent person now. The last four years have given us endless proof that they lack the moral standing to lecture anyone on how we should behave toward this soon-to-be—god help us all—president.
As for all the people on the left and the right suggesting that speaking out against the horrific things Trump and his base stand for is the kind of “political correctness” that put him in office, comedian Jeremy McLellan easily dispensed with that nonsense in a tweet today. McLellan wrote:
Remember this over the next four years when you hear the trope “this is why Trump won.” If you call his appointees racist, that’s why Trump won. If you boo Mike Pence, that’s why Trump won. If you protest in the streets, that’s why Trump won. If you insult him or his supporters, that’s why Trump won. Is a rhetorical tool for neutering resistance. Always ask what function it serves.
Every single day, without fail, the Trump campaign digs its way to a brand-new low. It has proven over and over that it is anti-women, anti-people of color and anti-progress. Booing Mike Pence was a minor incident and we should ignore Republican efforts to turn it into something bigger to distract from the important stuff. Still, it speaks to a larger principle. In ways large and small, we should be displaying our absolute opposition to Pence, Trump and this whole administration in the loudest voices we can muster every chance we get. They are unburdened by values or virtue, have shown callous indifference to millions, and are on the road to destroy this country and very likely—in ways direct and indirect—millions of lives within it.
This is no time for silence or complacency. Shame on us if we ever stop booing.