Can’t a homophobe visit the theater in peace? Vice-President Elect Mike Pence received a special message after being spotted during a Broadway performance of the hip-hop musical Hamilton.
At the end of the show, cast-member Brandon Victor Dixon (who plays Aaron Burr) addressed the audience, encouraged them not to harass Pence, and delivered a heartening message to the incoming Vice President.
“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,” Dixon said.
What makes Dixon’s words powerful isn’t that they try to tear Pence down but rather humbly try and offer him the opportunity to step up and prove his detractors wrong. They leave the ball in his court and treat him with respect, even though it’s unlikely to be returned.
It came as no surprise when Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda came out in support of the moment.
— Alan Menken (@AIMenken) November 19, 2016
While it’s easy to make the case that people have some immutable right to not be harassed and that going to the theater should qualify as a sort of safe space for political consequences, it’s easier to argue that making that case is a colossal cop out.
Pence’s views, words and actions have actively put him at odds with the LGBTI community throughout his political career by directly infringing on their rights. Putting the politically charged nature of Hamilton firmly to the side, you don’t get to use political power like that and then claim asylum from the consequences.
In response to the incident, Donald Trump tweeted out his disapproval via 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
And in response, Trump supporters have called for a boycott of the popular musical.
Dear Mr. Pence
Thank you visiting. Please sit there so we can lecture you. We won't give you chance to respond.
— Randy Mason (@mrmcoupe1) November 19, 2016
While anything that shortens the wait until I can finally see Hamilton is pretty alright in my books, it’s worth noting the convenient timing of Trump’s latest Twitter rant.
On social media, tweets about Trump and Hamilton have quickly eclipsed those about his decision to settle in his civil suit over his fraudulent university practices.
— Asa Bennett (@asabenn) November 19, 2016
To remind you:
“The Trump University scam undermines the very notion that a man of Trump’s greed can ever be trusted to advance the interests of others.” – New Republic, June 2016
So feel free to express your outrage at Pence but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.