No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges
Your news source for
Flagler, Florida and Beyond

Beyond Tweet Storms: What Trump Could Learn from Alexander Hamilton

| December 5, 2016

hamilton donald trump

A performance of ‘Hamilton’ at New York Richard Rogers Theatre. (Steve Jurvetson)

By now you’ve probably heard that Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed by fellow theater-goers at a performance of the musical Hamilton, an unlikely hip-hop sensation that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and other founding fathers.


Then, at the end of the show, the cast respectfully addressed Pence and asked him to protect the rights of all Americans — in all their diversity.

Donald Trump immediately demanded that the cast of Hamilton apologize to Pence. Twitter responded with the hashtag #NameAPenceMusical, offering up suggestions such as “Oklahomophobia!” and “Rent: But Not to Those People.”

To be fair, the latter belongs less to Pence than to Trump and his father, who faced numerous accusations of racial bias in their real estate business.

Some Trump supporters used the incident to make a point of their own. Among them, one noted that Hamilton was the creator of the Electoral College, the system that gave Trump the presidency even though he lost the popular vote by a significant margin.

If Trump supporters are interested in using this moment to discuss Hamilton’s role in history, I think it’s a fine idea.

other-wordsHamilton is one of the most influential interpreters of our Constitution, as well as one of its authors. And here’s what we can learn from him.

First, Hamilton wanted a strong central government. He advocated taxation. He took these positions for practical reasons, not because he was a flaming liberal.

Hamilton was George Washington’s “right hand man” (to quote the musical) during the Revolutionary War. He saw the problems our army had due to lack of funds and a weak central government and wanted to prevent such problems going forward.

Second, Hamilton was the original opponent of the “strict constructionist” view of the Constitution.

Strict constructionism is what Trump claims to look for in a Supreme Court appointee. It’s a doctrine that insists that we must only interpret the words of the Constitution literally, as they were written in the 18th century, and make no room for interpretation.

Hamilton, who was in the room where the document was written, thought otherwise.

Third, Hamilton saw the importance of establishing the U.S. banking system with strong credit. At our nation’s founding, we were mired in debt and our credit was worthless. He saw the need to turn that around, and turn it around he did.

It’s not going out on a limb to guess that Hamilton wouldn’t like how modern-day Republicans play chicken with our nation’s credit rating every time we need to raise the debt ceiling.

Fourth, for his time, Hamilton had relatively progressive views on race relations. He opposed slavery, and thought blacks were as intelligent as whites — a view that many of our other founding fathers sadly didn’t share.

Fifth, unlike the president-elect, Hamilton never used his position in government to enrich himself. He prided himself on his squeaky clean ethics and honesty and, when questioned, encouraged his enemies to investigate him as much as they liked.

That’s in contrast to Trump, who’s positioning himself to make a fortune off his newfound power by keeping his business empire within the family while he serves as president (and who just had to settle a fraud case against his Trump University for $25 million).

Sixth, Hamilton’s name was sullied in his lifetime by false accusations of everything from wanting to turn the U.S. into a monarchy to enriching himself from his government job. I can’t help but see a similarity to Hillary Clinton, who’s been accused of every crime in the book.

Hamilton’s story shows that widespread allegations don’t equate to guilt. In the end, he was innocent of almost everything.

Instead of an apology, I hope the cast of Hamilton gives Pence something else — like an encore performance.

jill richardson other words flaglerlive Jill Richardson is the author of “Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It.” She is a columnist for OtherWords.org See her previous column, “Sorry, I Can’t Give Trump a Chance.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

9 Responses for “Beyond Tweet Storms: What Trump Could Learn from Alexander Hamilton”

  1. JimB says:

    Oh Flaglerlive… why do you keep publishing this garbage from the butt hurt liberal Jill, perhaps Pierre is behind this. LOL
    Get over it, he won.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      You may believe that your way is the only way to think. We don’t. That’s why you’ll find columns like Richardson here, neighboring, sigh, comments like yours.

  2. Sherry says:

    Oh JimB. . . why do you keep hurling the same idiotic insults over and over again? Now, take out your dictionary. . . surely you can still actually learn something, and do try to come up with some new disgustingly rude words to match your stellar intellect. . . BORING!

  3. Anonymous says:

    HMMM~~~ Trump ~ faced numerous accusations of racial bias in their real estate business.
    Hamilton’s name was sullied in his lifetime by false accusations~Hamilton’s story shows that widespread allegations don’t equate to guilt. In the end, he was innocent of almost everything.

    As with Trump in the end he may also be innocent of almost everything.

    unlike the president-elect, Hamilton never used his position in government to enrich himself. He prided himself on his squeaky clean ethics and honesty and, when questioned, encouraged his enemies to investigate him as much as they liked.

    Trump as of yet has NOT held a position in Government and or enriched himself from it. Unlike your heros Hillary Clinton and 0bama. Both HAVE made a fortune off of their Government positions.

  4. Sherry says:

    Because I believe in EQUALITY and JUSTICE for ALL- Trump will Never be my president
    Because I believe in HONESTY- Trump will Never be my president
    Because I believe in acting ETHICALLY- Trump will Never be my president
    Because I believe Women are EQUAL to men-Trump will Never be my president
    Because I believe everyone should act with INTEGRITY-Trump will Never be my president
    Because I believe everyone should speak and act with DIGNITY-Trump will Never be my president
    Because I believe in “doing the right thing”, even above requirements of the law- Trump will Never. . .
    Because I believe in GOOD CHARACTER-Trump will never be my president

    YOU Trump supporters have thrown your morals out the window, and put a lying, bragging sexual predator in the white house, and YOU have disgraced our country forever! And, no I don’t want you to get over it. . . in fact . . . you should be disgusted with yourselves and ashamed every single day. The most sickening thing about all of this is that many of you probably aren’t.
    So goes the devolution of our species.

  5. Katie Semore says:

    One word, deplorables.

  6. Roger Gospodinoff says:

    Did you know that Alexander Hamilton was an immigration hawk? He thought there should be a test to make sure only certain kinds of people were allowed entry to the United States.

    Also, your definition of a strict constructionist is poor. A strict constructionist is not one who takes the words of the constitution literally (literalness is largely irrelevant in this context) but rather one who believes the meaning that was intended at the writing of the document should not be twisted into some other idea. In other words, the interpretation at that time should be the interpretation now. There is a system for changing the document. It should not be by a false interpretation, but rather by a systematic amendment. Only by adhering to the legal system can we hope to maintain the protections the constitution provides against lawless arbitrariness while making necessary changes to adapt to circumstances.

    My advice to you, though, it to get more strident and emotive in your writing and even less factual. I am certain you will gain many converts to your side. Sure you will.

  7. cs says:

    Hmmm, Trump told Newt he wasn’t expecting how BIG this position would be, or how HARD. Trump put a Breitbart fake news CEO as his advisor. He puts an anti-Medicare/anti-social security hack in his administration, he puts Wall Street in charge of the Treasury and federal money, he puts oil barons in charge of our environment, land management, national parks, etc. He puts a crazy former general who was FIRED as his military advisor. He puts a military general as secretary of defense – a position that is supposed to be filled by a civilian. He refuses to listen to daily Presidential intelligence briefings. He pisses off our allies, and invites our enemies (Pakistan, North Korea, etc.) in. This is a very frightening situation all of us find ourselves in. Fake news sold you Trump supporters on him. Now enjoy NO medicare or social security, no clean drinking water or clean air. You chose this. He’s told you all he was going to do all of this.

Leave a Reply

Read FlaglerLive's Comment Policy | Subscribe to the Comment Feed rss flaglerlive comment feed rss

More stories on FlaglerLive
Loading

Get FlaglerLive Alerts by Email

Sign Up for email alerts to new stories.

ADVERTISEMENTS

suppert flaglerlive flagler live palm coast flagler county news pierre tristam florida
news service of florida
Advertisement
Log in | FlaglerLive, P.O. Box 354263, Palm Coast, FL 32135-4263 | 386/586-0257

FlaglerLive.com