Look, everyone processes trauma in their own way, and we have to respect that. On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters staged a violent riot on the Capitol during the count of electoral votes in the 2020 election with many insurrectionists storming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office. A week later, a man threatened to kill her. No doubt these were terrifying breaches of personal safety. But did she have to respond to the anniversary by turning a C-Span broadcast into a Zoom Hamilton performance?
As part of the Capitol’s day of events, Pelosi introduced a video in which Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda gives a misty-eyed sermon:
“A New Year brings hope for the future, new energy to face the tasks ahead of us, and a renewed promise to strengthen the foundations of our democracy. We are all stewards of the American experiment, working to pass down to our children and our grandchildren a more perfect union that treats all its citizens with fairness and equity.”
This may be effective for some viewers, but it quickly rings with the hollowness of a Meta ad when you remember that the administration has basically abandoned the policies that would give material support to these goals of “fairness and equity.” Miranda then introduces “Dear Theodosia,” a frankly mid song from Hamilton they probably chose for this occasion because “The Room Where It Happens” and “One Last Time” have been done ad nauseam. The tinkly piano comes in. A cavalcade of just-as-misty-eyed Aaron Burrs and Alexander Hamiltons — each from different national touring companies and productions — pop up on screen one by one, singing to their offscreen beautiful babies about how America is, in many ways, also a beautiful baby. Theater-kid earnestness gets a bad rap, and Miranda is a talented songwriter (and director). That being said, this is still cringe as hell. It’s like the famously ratioed “Liberal insurrection” tweet come to life.