Monday, November 21, 2016

Figures of Speech

Bravo to the company and producers of Hamilton for exercising their freedom of speech in an after show message to Vice-President Elect Pence who was in attendance that night. Cast member Brandon Victor Dixon read the prepared statement to the audience.

The backlash has been fascinating. Reverting to his uncontrolled middle of the night Tweeting, Donald Trump registered his displeasure by accusing the cast of bad manners and calling for an "apology". He has decreed that a theater is a "safe space" and the treatment of Pence was scandalous.

Pence, surrounded by a phalanx of Secret Service agents, would be hard pressed to feel "unsafe" anywhere. Now, to be sure, a Broadway theater isn't a typical "safe" public place, like a Trump campaign rally. At any number of Trump rallies, protesters exercising their free speech rights were physically attacked by Trump supporters who Trump actually encouraged. He offered to pay the legal bills for the thugs that carried out his violent wishes. At the Hamilton performance, audience booing of Pence was admonished and the prepared message was respectfully given. Pence walked out during it as though he were retreating from a Broadway Cares fund raiser.

I doubt if the recent Broadway engagement of Lewis Black would have passed muster with Trump and his dictum of Broadway theater "safe spaces". How about Lenny Bruce at Carnegie Hall? Unlikely. Trump can not stand criticism or dissent. In previous incarnations as a failed casino operator or a meaningless reality TV star, his buffoonery could be overlooked as just so much personal promotion and blather.

Now, he's the President-Elect, and his quirky twitchy manner of carrying himself just won't fly. If he is going to trample on freedom of speech and expression, his besotted followers may well go along with him. The true remaining Americans, though fewer than we ever could have imagined there being, will resist. 

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