An open letter to Lin-Manuel Miranda about why I won't be entering the "Ultimate Hamilton Experience"
Let me start by saying that I am a tiny woman, and yet somehow, have managed to become a HUGE fan of Hamilton: An American Musical (soundtrack, because I haven’t been to the show yet). Recently, when those angry Trump supporters boycotted you guys because of Brandon Victor Dixon's address to Mike Pence, I defended the show tooth and nail on social media (and also defended you, personally, because for some reason people thought you were the one who gave the speech).
When my cousin asked what the big deal was about the show, I responded partly by saying of my experience listening to the entire soundtrack start to finish on a cross-country road trip, “I was moved and inspired the way art is meant to move and inspire us… and for nothing less than love for the very country that it’s about. Ours!”
Your show has so many epic moments, and one of my favorites is when Jefferson starts off the first cabinet meeting/rap battle with:
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,
we fought for these ideals, we shouldn’t settle for less.
These are wise words, enterprising men quote ‘em.
Don’t act surprised, you guys, ‘cause I wrote ‘em.
Lin, thank you for what you and your crew have created. It blesses my heart so much. But unfortunately, this heart-blessing quality is also the reason why something else is breaking it right now. It's this thing that keeps popping up in my Facebook news feed, because of course, even the Facebook algorithm knows how much I love your show.
You’re promoting this "Ultimate Hamilton Experience" where fans like me can win tickets to see the show in three cities as your special guest, and in order to enter, all we have to do is donate $10 to Planned Parenthood, right? I understand your mom is a board member, and this is something you two are doing together.
But the thing is, Lin, I am among the still many citizens of this great nation who believe that human life begins at conception—when a brand new, complete DNA mash-up sets all the things swirling into motion—and from that moment, we have to honor that life. Planned Parenthood, as you know, would not concur. It is an organization that stops human hearts from beating before they're given their shot, if you will. Those beating hearts are the very life that Jefferson was talking about—that first inalienable right without which liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not even possible. And since we’re still fighting for those ideals today, I feel compelled to point out that the battle starts with choosing life every time, defending the most helpless of all, because when a life in progress is not given a shot, our sense of justice is a non-starter.
I mean no disrespect to your mother. I believe we both care deeply about women's rights. I simply have a very different understanding of how we actually pursue and honor our inherent female dignity. It's an understanding that is truly life-giving to all members of the human race. So for my fellow women in need of hope and help, there are truer (albeit much less funded) beacons I support, and point them to.
Your musical would have me believe that you see room for this diverging perspective. The world is wide enough, right? But unfortunately, your contests and promotions for the ultimate fans are not so wide. They are only open to those who share your political perspective, and that is a huge disappointment to fans like me who will never agree with Planned Parenthood’s approaches to addressing our societal issues, and as such, can never willingly support the organization in any way—not even for Hamilton tickets and a chance to meet you.
But it's not like I’m going to boycott the show or anything. I've already pointed out the futility of that to so many Facebook friends. Plus, I still think Hamilton is wonderful, and has something very important to teach us all about who we are as a nation, and as humans in general. I still hope to someday see in person that incredible story of the "bastard, orphan, son of a whore" who rose up to change the course of human history. It does make me wonder what options Planned Parenthood would have presented to Alexander’s mother had she come to them for hope at the event of his conception. And how many Alexanders we will never know as a result of their help.
I have the honor to be.
Your obedient servant,