Politics

The Cast of 'Hamilton' Delivers a Powerful Message to Mike Pence

November 19th 2016

By:
Willie Burnley Jr.

As scrutiny of President-elect Donald Trump’s history and plans for the future have grown the closer he gets to the Oval Office, so too have they for Vice President-elect Mike Pence. It’s only fitting that, if “politics is theater,” as Harvey Milk once said, that Pence wouldn't be able to escape his political record white attending a musical.

On Friday, former-Indian Governor Pence was greeted by an impromptu plea from the stars of the Tony Award winning musical “Hamilton” as he was about to exit the theater.

 

Actor Brandon Dixon, who plays the character of Vice President Aaron Burr, reached out to Pence while on stage, expressing the fears of many when he said that the diverse cast was “alarmed and anxious that your new administration would not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us or uphold our unalienable rights.”

“But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us,” Dixon said.

Earlier in the night, Pence was booed heavily by the theater’s audience. When President-elect Trump heard about the incident, he of course took to Twitter, demanding an apology from the cast for “harassing” his VP pick. Dixon, for his part, refuted the claims of harassment.

Perhaps the most notable part of Dixon's speech was his noting the play was made up of a diverse group of people of various “orientations.”

Pence has been a fierce opponent of LGBT rights, writing during his first successful run for Congress that lawmakers should “oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage.” The current lead in “Hamilton” is a gay man living with HIV.

One of the the most high-profile actions that Governor Pence took in Indiana involved signing a controversial bill that was seen as allowing people to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds. Pence also contributed to an HIV outbreak in Indiana due to his refusal to fund Planned Parenthood clinics in his state, and extreme hesitance to allow a clean needle exchange program that could have lessened the spread of the virus. These actions were consistent with previous statements Pence had made to the effect that the federal government should fund gay conversion therapy rather than HIV/AIDs treatment.

Now Pence is in a position to push such policies from the White House.