Imagine a president of the United States who rounded up and deported more immigrants than any other in history; put an entire generation of black men in jail with their draconian anti-drug policies; ran a horrid racist campaignagainst America’s first black president; attacked victims of sexual assault; or had policies that were responsible for the deaths of countless innocent civilians?
Would the cast of “Hamilton” give a special wag-of-the-finger message to such leaders during their performance?
Of course they wouldn’t—they absolutely love and adore Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
When Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a “Hamilton” performance Friday night, the cast made a spectacle of his presence. “We, sir, 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,” said actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr in the hit Broadway musical.“We truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us.”
I don’t disagree at all with this sentiment. I have had similar concerns when it comes to Donald Trump’s administration and have been an outspoken against the bigotry, racism, misogyny and other troubling aspects of what his campaign represented.
But what do you think the millions of Americans who voted for Trump perceive when they see cast members of the most popular musical ever appearing to lecture the next vice president—who was merely attending a Broadway show?
It’s patronizing. It’s insulting.
It’s yet another example of the pomposity of entertainers and celebrities who fancy themselves as guardians of acceptable thought and speech, and so many Americans are just plain tired of it.
This condescending attitude of the cultural elite is also part of why Trump won in the first place.
The “Hamilton” cast’s behavior is a prime example of the “smug style in American liberalism” described at length by Vox’s Emmett Rensin:
There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really —but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.British actor and comedian Tom Walker—a progressive vehemently opposed to Trump—made a similar point about the left’s attitude toward those outside their political and cultural bubble in an angry but poignant video rant after the election.
In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.
“Not everyone that voted for Trump is a sexist or a racist,’ Walker yells.