his time last year, I was nursing both a son with a broken jaw and my surgically replaced knee. Caught up in the insanity was my inability to cash in my Hamilton musical tickets. I had to sell them in order to spend the weekend in the hospital watching my son learn to eat through a straw.
Jump ahead one rotation of the sun and both my son and I are fully healed but locked inside, thanks to a virus named after a beer. Strange times, indeed. On the plus side, the musical Hamilton was released on streaming television and I finally got to see what the fuss is all about.
Wow. It’s worth the fuss. Everything you’ve heard about it from those friends of yours – the ones who like to flaunt that they got to see Hamilton – they were right. It’s outstanding. A tour de force that doesn’t even have anything to do with Star Wars. The story was so compelling about an immigrant who managed to shape a new country. It gave me hope that I would be able to get outside this weekend and shape my lawn among the oppressive heat.
It also laid bare some of the key mistakes the founding fathers made as they were shaping the country. All that work to escape tyranny while setting up their own flavor across the pond. If I had any bone to pick, it would be that the musical did tend to gloss over some of the mistakes those fathers made. Cut to the song about women being able to vote. Wait. There wasn’t a song like that. And, although the cast was predominantly African-American and the music was in the voice of hip hop and soul, there was barely a mention that the majority of those who signed the Declaration of Independence were slave owners.
Jump ahead 220 years and we’re still battling with that glaring issue – maybe even more so than four years prior, when Hamilton became a hit. From a storytelling standpoint, it was Hamilton’s wife, Eliza that did more to the cause of suffrage and slaving than Hamilton. Waiting for that sequel.
Hamilton was a man who overcame great obstacles to achieve eventual greatness, but the musical also shows that it always comes with a price. None of our ancestors were perfect. None of them were without their secrets and their problems. As we spend our time tearing down what was built in the past, we should spend just as much time outlining the truths that we will hold up in the future.
In many ways, Hamilton is the perfect story for these times. Ahead of us will be a clearer slate. If equality is going to finally take hold, it will be up to a thousand Hamiltons to help guide the “New” New World.
Maybe this time we will get these truths that we hold right.
(Get the truth from @TheFakeNed on Twitter)