Today is the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Last weekend the big political controversy was the President-elect’s reaction to comments made during the curtain call following a performance of the hit show Hamilton. Let’s compare how the two individuals performed under “pressure”. (I will explain the use of quotation marks later in this piece.)
Friday night actor Brandon Dixon who plays Aaron Burr in Hamilton recognized Vice President-elect Mike Pence in the audience during the curtain call. Here is the text of his remarks: “You know we have a guest in the audience this evening. And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out, but I hope you will hear us just a few more minutes”. (The audience – who like most theater audiences remained at their seats during the curtain call – started to boo Pence.) “There’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen. There’s nothing to boo here. We’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a message for you, sir. We hope you will hear us out,” pulling a piece of paper from his pocket Dixon continued, “Because this message needs to be spread far and wide.” Dixon then read the following: “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 out 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.”
The only reason we have to believe that Pence heard the complete statement is because the media reported he pause in the hallway. Dixon’s appeal did not convince him to halt his hasty retreat and remain in the theatre proper. Most theatre goes and thespians would consider that rude and unsophisticated behavior on the part of Pence.
Donald Trump responded with a torrent of tweets. Basically they demanded an apology from the entire Hamilton organization for what Trump characterized as the rude treatment of Pence. Here are two:
Posted at 7:32pm on November 19, 2016 and later deleted: “Very rude and insulting of Hamilton cast to treat our great future V.P. Mike Pence to a theatre lecture. Couldn’t even memorize lines.” I guess that means that Trump –who in his mind is certainly smarter than a Broadway actor – will be issuing his inaugural address in complete sentences without the aid of a prepared speech either on paper or teleprompter. Don’t bet on it!
Posted at 6:20am on November 20, 2016. “The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior.” Hamilton is and has been for some time the hottest theatre ticket in America.
Here is the bottom line: If Trump feels insulted and threatened by citizens asking him to do his job it is time he realized he is unequipped to handle the job.
In October of 1962 a young President Kennedy (who incidentally I do not consider to be among the great American Presidents) faced down the then Soviet Union and made them blink avoiding nuclear war and preserving life on this planet as we know it. That is the kind of pressure (hence the quotation marks in the opening paragraph) that comes with sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office. President-elect Trump, if you can’t handle your administration being asked to do its job how are you going to handle an international crisis? You should be thanking Mr. Dixon and crew while you incorporate his ideas in your inauguration speech! Remember just a bit after noon on January 20th in complete sentences and from memory.
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