Perspective is everything. Someone wise once said, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” It explains why "Hamilton" actor Brandon Victor Dixon’s remarks to Vice President-elect Mike Pence have been much described as lecturing or bullying.
"Vice President-elect Pence,” Dixon said, "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 our inalienable rights, sir.”
President-elect Trump fired off four tweets — one was deleted — calling the comments rude and demanding an apology on Pence’s behalf. Others echoed his anger, including protesters calling for a boycott of the musical. Note that Pence himself said he wasn’t offended, not even by the audience boos. "That's what freedom sounds like,” Pence said he told his daughter.
In the resulting controversy, I’ve wondered why the next commander in chief responded to what he heard as an insult but has not — beyond two media interviews — soundly denounced the escalating and widespread attacks against the very people the "Hamilton" cast represents. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented 900 and counting.
Statewide, Attorney General Maura Healy’s hate crime hotline received nearly 400 calls on the first day. Sixty substantive complaints include the Springfield couple whose door was keyed with the words “go home” and the Ku Klux Klan newspaper dropped on the doorsteps of Milford residents.
"I’m not afraid of President Trump, and I don’t think people should be,” businessman Ernie Boch Jr. told the Boston Herald.
Easy for you to say, Mr. Boch — you don’t have to worry about white nationalists like Jared Taylor saying Trump represents their mission and message.
Taylor is editor of the 26-year-old American Renaissance, a self-described white advocacy organization. “What’s wrong with whites wanting to remain a majority in the United States?” Taylor asked in an interview with Vox.
Understand, we are not afraid of the president-elect; we are afraid that the president-elect has not consistently and firmly rejected the hate speech and hate crimes carried out in his name.
We are looking to the next president to be presidential, to step into the role of protector and comforter as then President-elect Barack Obama did.
Were the millions who voted against Obama deeply disappointed? Yes. Did they dislike him intensely? Yes. Did they vehemently oppose his proposed policies? Absolutely. But the disappointed didn’t worry about people grabbing them in the streets or screaming at their children.
I remember after President Obama’s election how three men angry about his win burned down Springfield’s Macedonia Church of God. I remember threats against his life so intense the Secret Service increased his security. And I remember how President-elect Obama responded — speaking directly to his fiercest opponents, saying affirmatively, consistently, and often that this was the United States of America and he was president of all.
"Hamilton" actor Brandon Victor Dixon concluded his brief written statement to Pence with these words: "on behalf of all of us.” I didn’t hear a demand, but rather a plea from someone representing the many Americans who are uneasy and scared.
President-elect Trump, I hope you will hear it, too.