Seeing Hamilton—And Why We Just Won’t Shut Up
When I was visiting New York last month, I got to see the Broadway phenomenon that has everyone talking: Hamilton. And I have to tell you: it’s just as good as everyone says it is.
In fact, it’s better.
Singlehandedly, this incredible work of art (and its legendary author, Lin-Manuel Miranda) has executed a seamless evolution of American musical theater from ballad-heavy romance to politically relevant hip hop.
The world of musical theater has, indeed, “turned upside down.”
And for me, one of the best things about this brilliant take on the American Revolution is the degree to which it compels the viewer not just to react, but to think.
And the questions and issues it raises certainly had me thinking again, this week, when I saw yet another attack by the mainstream media on a group that I am proud to be a part of: STAND.
Yeah, that’s right. Not just attacking Scientologists for having “the nerve” to have their religious beliefs, but for daring to object when their religion is maliciously attacked.
Apparently it’s totally politically correct to call Scientologists names and spread lies about their religious beliefs and practices, but it’s not politically correct for Scientologists to demand the liars stop.
In the musical, Alexander Hamilton arrives in America as a young, scrappy immigrant, enthusiastically supportive of the objections being raised by Americans to English tyranny. His new acquaintance, Aaron Burr, advises him to “Talk less. Smile more. Don’t let them see what you’re against or what you’re for.”
“If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”
Burr, ever cowardly, insists that the best way to handle any controversial situation is just to stay out of it, watching from the sidelines. It’s much safer if you don’t “choose sides,” he explains.
Which is exactly the advice that I am getting from the mainstream media. Scientologist? Let someone else tell the world what they think about it. You should just stay out of it. After all, I can get all the “story” I want from the discredited tales of former Scientologists…
Hamilton doesn’t take Burr’s advice. In fact, he grows ever more vocal in his objections to tyranny, spurring not only the (successful) American Revolution, but the American constitution and government institutions that fostered our country’s growth and success.
In fact, Hamilton has nothing but contempt for Burr’s “go along to get along” advice, saying, “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”
Indeed. In the end, the choice becomes a matter of personal integrity. If you can’t be vocal about what you know to be true, then the only voices that will be heard are the other ones.
So please don’t be shocked, surprised or upset when I tell you that I STAND for Scientology. I don’t take anti-Scientology slurs sitting down. I won’t laugh them off or tell you it’s ok. In fact, I won’t take anti-Muslim slurs sitting down, either. Or anti-Buddhist slurs, or anti-Jehovah’s Witness slurs, or any bigoted commentary about a group of human beings, whether I share the beliefs of that group or not.
My personal moral code does not permit me to just sit quietly (and uncomfortably) while others are being unjustly attacked—or while my religion is suddenly the butt of cruel jokes or bigotry.
Like Hamilton, I won’t “talk less.” And I would encourage you not to either.
When you see injustice or bigotry, speak out.
Trust me. It feels good.