Let's Digress

Let’s Digress about the Hamilton Musical

I have some thoughts on the Hamilton musical.

I’m watching the Hamilton musical again. This is the third time. Possibly the fourth. But definitely at least the third time. I don’t generally like musicals, but I loved this one. In light of this, I have developed some conclusions.

1) This show is infinitely better with the subtitles on. 

As a general rule, I strongly dislike rap music. I can’t comprehend what is being said most of the time when the cadence is fast and I find most rap music to be incredibly derogatory toward women and minorities. 

While the musical isn’t derogatory toward women and minorities like most rap music, I still have difficulty comprehending what they’re saying for a lot of it. 

Then I activated the subtitles. Let me just say, once I understood what was being said, this is production is remarkably clever, lyrically speaking. I understand why it took years to write; digesting Chernow’s Hamilton biography (which is what the musical is based on) enough to write an informed screenplay is a sizable bear to tackle, let alone processing it well enough to be able to keep it witty and within standard rhyming and musical guidelines. 

Also, from what I’ve read in the Chernow biography myself, and from what I’ve read from other people who are knowledgeable about both the musical and biography, the musical is remarkably accurate to the book. 

2) Regardless of what political leanings and sentiments the cast of the show may have now, they were definitely pro-America when this was made. 

With the current political and social climates being what they are, the cast recently came out with typical left-leaning sentiments about the country being a horrible, no good, very bad place. Some of what I read indicated they had those sentiments when the show was being made. 

I call horse pucky. 

Sure, they may feel that way now. But I highly doubt they did then. It seems unlikely to me that someone would take the time, effort, and hard work to extensively memorize and perform something as excellent as this Founding Father’s story if they genuinely loathed everything Hamilton and his country stood for. 

3) The United States is the only country a musical like this could’ve been made about and still be plausible. 

The United States is unique in that it’s the only country a show like this could’ve possibly been made about. The U.S. is a credal country, meaning everyone in the U.S. is an “American” if they adopt the Creed of the country (the meaning of the founding documents, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, believe the founding ideas, etc.). 

Every other country’s citizenry is based on religion, race, ethnicity, or birth location. I could move to Germany and live there for the next 20 years, but I still wouldn’t be a German. I could move to Iraq, but I still wouldn’t be an Iraqi. But the U.S. is special; if you come here and adopt the American Creed and believe American ideas, then you’re an American. 

As far as I can tell, the cast of the show are all minorities, except for King George. Meaning they don’t physically look like what we traditionally think of when we picture the Founding Fathers (brownish guys in funny hats vs. white guys in funny hats). 

Since the Founding Fathers are everyone’s Founding Fathers, this makes the show all that much more believable. That’s only possible because we’re a nation built on an idea, not on race, ethnicity, location of birth, or one particular religion. 

4)  People are broken and can still accomplish great things. 

Above all else, this show demonstrates that all people are profoundly broken and can still do great things, despite their brokenness. Several of the Founding Fathers did and believed terrible things on a personal level, but they were still able to craft the beginnings of the greatest, freest, and most prosperous country in the history of the world. 

This is an excellent blueprint for us to follow now. History is still being written. If we come together, discuss ideas, and let the best ideas win, we can further improve this excellent country and the world.

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