Last night, thanks to some dear friends who got tickets to the Hamilton Opening Night at the Kennedy Center, we were able to finally see Hamilton! It has been a three year quest for Colson and the thrill was immense!
Colson and I homeschool, and I am a Revolutionary War/Founding Father and Mother admirer since the age of about 15. The Founders were so individually brilliant (and flawed), and thanks to all of that brilliance, they created an unmatched system of government. It has flaws - one major - allowing slavery even though many of the Founders opposed it, but it is brilliant nonetheless.
The system that the Founders created relies on an educated and vigilant citizenry.
Thomas Jefferson warned:
the people can not be all, & always, well informed. the part which is wrong [. . .] will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.
Fast forward and Theodore Roosevelt nailed it in many ways too:
To sit home, read one's favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men's doing.
Roosevelt has some great thoughts that apply today and it is worth reading them here: 15 Teddy Roosevelt quotes.
I have been an admirer of the Founders and the Revolutionary War/post war era since I was 15. Because of Hamilton, Colson and I started periodically studying the Revolution for the past three years. Because of the rise of Donald Trump and religious extremism, we homeschooled really hard the last 18 months, studying the the Revolution, the Declaration and the Constitution in relation to current events.
We studied the rise of Trump in astonishment, as a large minority of Americans gave up a huge chunk of the Founder’s, and the Country’s, soul to Trump. And Clinton was not the answer either, but a significantly lesser and still very problematic version our sleeping, liberty relinquishing, corporately brainwashed country.
Here is one more Roosevelt quote to consider:
Our aim is not to do away with corporations; on the contrary, these big aggregations are an inevitable development of modern industrialism. ... We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.
Our citizenry has been asleep for decades, many mindlessly doing what corporate America wants us to do. Trading time and money for stuff, allowing the freedoms that our Founders sacrificed for to be handed over to corporations. Some do it in the name of their God, some do it out of fear, some feel silence in the face of assault is respectful, and all promote their loss of liberty as if their lives depend upon it. It flies in the face of all common sense and shows the power of corporate America. The Founders would be horrified by what we have allowed ourselves to give away. Keep in mind that George Bush said that we should all go shopping after the tragedy on September 11.
The politeness argument in the face of oppressors troubles me the most. It is used as a cover for people who want their religion to dominate America, I think. If politeness was the key, should Susan B. Anthony and Cady Stanton have been polite when trying to obtain the right to vote? Or how Dr. King and other Freedom Marchers? Or the Labor Union organizers fighting to protect themselves and their children. Their oppressors rejected politeness, which led to peaceful protest, violence by the oppressors, and too much death. Or we could talk about the polite experiences of Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela, or, or, or.
In response to this completely unexpected, pathetically insulting, assaulting governance under Trump, our young people are active and many of us older citizens waking up! I am hopeful that America’s youth can cause a massive shift in our government in 2018, away from Trump and extremism and the deconstructing of our Constitution. Studies show that America’s youth do not become more conservative as they age - thank goodness! They are rising up as never before, becoming a force. I am in awe of those Parkland kids, for example. Our young people must maintain their momentum and save all of us. My generation and their grandparents generation have failed them, and it is up to them.
I have driven this point home to Colson. He has been working since 11 (he is now 15) to learn how government works and to be an active participant and advocate for positive change. Prior to Colson I was a government employee, a non-profit employee and then, once Colson arrived, a private citizen successfully influencing government. I know that one engaged person can cause change, and Colson and his generation need to know this and know how to do it. It is a burden that they shouldn’t have to carry, but we have forced them to by our inaction and relinquishment of responsibility.
If you are looking for inspiration, here are a few clips of Colson’s work:
He has also lobbied as a private citizen at the North Carolina General Assembly, researching, creating talking points, meeting with legislators and testifying at committee. His efforts have focused on climate change, waterway protection, pollinator protection and more.
And there are more experiences to come. Government isn’t his passion, but he must participate and hopefully others will be inspired to as well.
We were fortunate to meet the Hamilton cast after the show. They were kind, patient and Amazing! I worked up my nerve to show Colson’s My Shot rap to Austin Scott, Hamilton himself, and Colson was over the moon as Austin exclaimed praise throughout and encouraged Colson. I explained to Austin that he and the rest of the cast are inspiring this generation and we are beyond grateful. Colson is now email friends with another prominent cast member as well. We finished the night exuberantly. Colson’s three year Hamilton drought is over, the cast was beyond wonderful, and they affirmed Colson’s efforts, propelling him forward when he often wonders if his efforts mattered.
People don’t have to do what Colson does. It isn’t for everyone, but if you think it might be, then all that dress rehearsal your kids are going through for school suddenly becomes meaningful. If it isn’t your/their gig, hopefully calling and writing to your elected officials and voting are. That is what our Founders wanted - people to stay engaged and hold our officials accountable when they fail us.
Here are some pics from our sublime night.
With Austin Scott (Hamilton):
With our friend and Carvens Lissaint (George Washington):
With Chaundre Hall-Broomfield (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison):
With Bryson Bruce (Thomas Jefferson/Marquis de Lafayette):
And one happy kid after the show!
Happy kids before the show!