Rarely does this author venture into the political arena to make commentary on topics that do not involve the universal right to life, or the call to live a life grounded in faith. In both cases of where I usually tread into the political minefield on behalf of my Catholic faith and to uphold the premise that ALL human life is sacred. Political rhetoric is always too incendiary especially when we as American citizens are all blanked protected by the Bill of Rights. With that said, the Bill of Rights indeed provides freedom of speech to all of us. However, it does not provide us with the right to be rude or inappropriate. Now, here comes the treacherous wading into the political arena. It seems that members of a cast of actors chose an inopportune time to make a public declaration of their sentiments to the Vice President-elect while he was attending a performance of HAMILTON a few days ago,
Having access to the stage, especially control of an open microphone does not legitimize any speaker’s desire to subjugate an entire audience with unsolicited opinions and (presumably,) politicized opinions from the speaker or the collective cast of the musical. It was not the appropriate place and time to extemporaneously offer advice and admonitions to the Vice President-elect simply because the cast felt they had a sociopolitical obligation to the nation to offer counsel to the incoming administration of the United States government. Frankly, the use of the curtain call diminished the integrity of the entire cast’s comprehension and understanding of what precisely their roles are in presenting HAMILTON as a musical source of theatrical entertainment. They are first and foremost ACTORS, not political experts on the pros and cons of the inclinations of the incoming President and Vice President in January 2017. Despite sentiments to the contrary, the election of 2016 was the representative voice of the American People, guided by the norms and directives of the United States Constitution and not the election of a secondary school student council with is without obligations to the laws of the American Republic.
Many voices are being raised in discontent regarding the fact that the popular vote favored Secretary Clinton but the Electoral College votes prevailed in favor of Donald Trump. Thank God, the process outlined in the United States Constitution work and the process will be validated when the members of the Electoral College meet in December. Throughout the course of presidential elections, this is only the fourth time that a candidate has won the popular vote, while failing to gain most 270 votes needed to carry the Electoral College. It seems, with the election of George Washington excluded, this illustrates the great thought and consideration the Founding Fathers invested into the process of creating an electoral vote as opposed to a government elected solely by the popular vote. As with all the branches of the Federal Government, the Founding Fathers provided a system of, “checks and balances,” event to the election of the Chief Executive. Kudos to them for their foresight, insight and long term inspiration on what they considered could provide complexities that could undermine a nascent Federal Government with a newly ratified United States Constitution. Perhaps there are modifications to be made to the United States Constitution in the 21st century. However, tweaking with the Electoral College should not be one of them. Such a process makes our American Government so distinctly different from that of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, compromised of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The system, as set in the United Kingdom does not provide for the, “checks and balances,” as set forth in our own American form of government. In the United Kingdom, the plurality wins, despite the benefits or the consequences. If any amendment to the United States Constitution should be introduced it should maintain this, “…all life from conception to natural death is sacred and every possible action should always and everywhere be taken to preserve, protect and defend all forms of human life from womb to tomb!”
While I am not in any manner a Constitutional scholar, I am an American citizen and thankfully applaud the Founding Fathers for their great insights and deep deliberations that went into drafting and ultimately adopting the Constitution as the law of the land. Uniquely, our Bill of Rights provides freedom of speech and expression. However, prudence, age and life experience is most probably the best caliper with which to measure the appropriate time and place to exercise one’s freedom of speech and expression.
Admittedly, an apology has already been offered to the Vice President-elect for the inappropriate timing and place of the statements made by the spokesperson for the cast of HAMILTON. While the event, post de facto is now a blink of an eye in the history of the nation it still behooves all of us to reconsider the gravity and responsibility that accompanies all of us as American citizens that are gifted with the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Freedom of Speech and freedom of expression evolved because of an American Revolution that aimed colonial dissent against the tyrannies of the British Empire, most importantly those imposed by King George III. The American Revolution was not just an exercise in political revolt against a tyrannical monarchy, it was a revolution based on the principles of the Enlightenment and Humanism, in its infancy that was sweeping throughout the peoples oppressed by colonial rule and tyrannical applications of social and political justice. If any one group should appreciate the rise of the era of the Enlightenment, it should be the cast and crew of HAMILTON. It is often said that, “Art imitates life!” Well in this case the American people should be thankful that life in the United States since the age of Alexander Hamilton has not imitated the art that now provides us with a poignant portrayal of the grave and apparent inequities that manifested themselves during Alexander Hamilton’s time.
The theater is an inappropriate place to proclaim remarks to any elected official. However, with thanks to our Bill of Rights the inappropriate words at the wrong place at the wrong time are a living symbolism of how well our form of government functions in the most pragmatic manner on an everyday basis. If such remarks were made in say, North Korea, the Peoples Republic of China, or even the newly emerging world of Cuba the reactions might have been quite different for the spokesperson and cast of the musical HAMILTON. Thankfully our rule of law permits freedom of speech without retribution and retaliation. However, don’t forget that the Constitution of the United States does not give anyone the right to be inappropriate or rude, so let’s make America GREATER again and remember to brush up on manners and personal etiquette.