Donald Trump’s reputation as a brave warrior against political correctness is a big fat lie – he has always been happy to use free speech-busting, SJW tactics to attack and silence his critics
In a move which perfectly illustrates the yawning chasm between the “two Americas”, the cast of hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” saw fit to deliver a rather patronising end-of-show lecture on equality, diversity and tolerance to vice president-elect Mike Pence, who was sitting in the audience.
Telling the audience that there was “nothing to boo” (many of them seemed to disagree, and heartily booed Mike Pence when he first took his seat in the theatre and again when the cast addressed him as he was leaving), cast member Brandon Victor Dixon said:
Vice-president elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us at Hamilton: An American Musical. We really do.
We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir.
But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us.
We truly thank you for sharing this show — this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.
It is actually not a bad speech, and was certainly delivered with an eloquence and dignity which has been largely missing from both sides of this dismal presidential election.
One can take issue with the idea that people need to be constantly nurtured by successive presidential administrations and “protected” by government, but Donald Trump has said enough inflammatory and offensive things on his path to the White House that nobody can say that all of the trepidation is unjustified, or that some people are not in legitimate need of reassurance – either because of things that the president-elect himself has said, or by irresponsible scaremongering by those opposed to Donald Trump.
And yes, one could also rightly point out that it doesn’t say much for America’s social cohesion and inclusivity when the producer of Hamilton: An American Musical could authorise such a speech in the sure knowledge that the words addressed to Mike Pence would speak for every single one of the cast and crew (as they almost certainly did). How many Trump voters or conservatives in general work in musical theatre, or dare to admit their political preferences if they do?
As Brandon Victor Dixon boasted, there was indeed every kind of diversity standing on that stage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. Every kind of diversity apart from intellectual and political diversity.
But of more interest than the cast’s speech itself, though, is the response it provoked from president-elect Donald Trump, who now seems to have been given back full control of his Twitter account after anxious aides confiscated his devices in the closing days of the campaign to prevent any final day gaffes or Twitter wars.
Trump clearly did not take kindly to seeing his future vice president lectured on American values by a cast of musical theatre actors, and fired off this angry tweet:
And then this one, when the rage had still not subsided eight minutes later:
The theatre must always be a safe and special place? Really? I can think of at least one American president in history who had a decidedly unpleasant experience in a theatre, 151 years ago. And during his pivotal and historic presidency, Abraham Lincoln withstood insults and diatribes far worse than anything ever levelled at Donald Trump, and did so with infinitely more grace.
But mark what we are witnessing here: Donald Trump, slayer of political correctness, fighter of censorship, champion of free speech and supposed scourge of the Identity Politics Left, now using exactly the same language of grievance and victimhood to portray himself as a victim in a bid for the moral high ground.
Jonah Goldberg warned months ago that while Donald Trump is quite happy to profit from being seen as an anti-PC warrior, he is also ruthless in using PC tactics himself when he feels under attack:
This idea that Donald Trump is against political correctness is just a fiction. He’s against being held accountable to people to political correctness for himself but he is delighted to use the exact same bullying tropes of political correctness against other people. He’s done it against me when he tried to get me fired from National Review, saying I was insulting to women and that I have to apologise or resign or be fired because I was so insulting to women. What did I do that was so insulting to women? I said that Donald Trump is staying up late into the night like a teenage girl, tweeting. Which was A, accurate, and B, accurate.
During the primaries when Jeb Bush had a completely understandable and forgivable gaffe about women’s health issues, for weeks Donald Trump was talking about how horrible Jeb Bush was on women’s issues, playing these politically correct cards. He’s a nearest weapon to hand arguer in all things because he does have no philosophy, he has no intellectual grounding whatsoever.
And again here:
Nor is he the enemy of political correctness they make him out to be. Trump is perfectly happy to invoke and deploy PC arguments and standards against his opponents, he just wants to be immune from their sting himself.
And now, perhaps, people will start to realise that the man they just elected to the White House is not actually for free speech and against censorship and thin-skinned intolerance in principle, but only when those behaviours stand in his way or threaten to make him look foolish.
In this way and so many others (like the laughable idea that he is a conservative, and that his miraculous Damascene conversion from being a stereotypical wealthy New York liberal is in any way sincere), Donald Trump has conned his way to the White House. And as we have seen, his impulsive nature means that President Trump will inevitably react to events before his aides can restrain him or urge him to rise above minor slights and insults to portray a presidential calmness. Therefore, it will not be long until Trump is exposed as the thin-skinned, criticism averse, dissent silencing authoritarian that he is.
Inauguration Day itself will be one of the first big challenges – there are plans afoot for millions of protesters to descend on Washington D.C. and numerous other cities to voice their opposition to the supposed Trump agenda. Will Trump be seen tweeting responses and insults to the protesters from the presidential platform now being built on the steps of the Capitol, as he watches the inauguration festivities taking place? Will he demand that the National Mall be made a “safe space” free of political dissent as he and Melania take the limousine drive down to the inauguration site?
For those who have so far been willing to overlook them, Donald Trump’s grave character defects were always going to be exposed by events. And now it seems that we didn’t even have to wait until he placed his hand on the Bible and gave the oath before the portrayal of Trump as a happy warrior against censorship was exposed as a sham.
This probably will not bother Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters just now. While the president-elect demands safe spaces for himself, he at least continues to throw rhetorical bombs at all of the “right” people to keep his base happy. But one day that will change.
In a couple of years, when Donald Trump’s political agenda is quite possibly mired in gridlock and the Republican Party faces a difficult set of midterm elections, some of those Trump supporters, unhappy with the slow delivery of Trump’s promised land of milk and honey, may wish to register their anger at the president. And if they do so, the president will attack them too, just as he attacked the hated SJWs and college snowflakes and identity politics zealots during the campaign. But it will not feel so good when the president is demanding a safe space free from the criticism of his own one-time supporters.
Funny. I wonder how many Trump voters realised that they were electing the biggest and most precious snowflake of them all to the most powerful job in the world.
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That you don’t even realize you have been trolled with your own weapon is just to good to be true!lol!How can you not see the irony?”a safe and special place”.lol!
My word, your blog has acquired some interesting new readers.
“…all he could do was sit there and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous thespians.”
Did you even bother reading the news reports about the event? Pence was already out of the theater area, in the hallway outside, headed for the exit when he voluntarily stopped to listen to the statement. He was not held hostage — literally, effectively, metaphorically, etc. There was nothing other than himself preventing him from continuing to the exit from the building. Pence was not, as you claim, sitting in his seat at the time the statement was read from the stage, which occurred after the performance was over. I do commend him for stopping to listen.
“Did you even bother reading the news reports about the event?”
No, frankly I did not think it worthwhile. The important point was that Pence was unable to respond whether sitting or standing. Storm in a teacup either way, Trump merely tweeted a tweet, this is not a political earthquake. On the day Trump threatens to re-write the US Constitution, then we will have something to talk about. Actually I think there is an argument for:
“Amending the First Amendment”
Twice now you have stated a claim that is either factually incorrect or at the very least not established as factually correct. There is no evidence that Pence was unable to respond. He was in the hallway at the time the statement was read from the stage. He voluntarily stopped to listen. There is no evidence that he was or would have been prevented from returning to the theater area and ask to be permitted to step up onto the stage and respond to the statement. The tone of the statement as delivered by the actor was civil and respectful. I think it very likely they would have been more than happy to let Pence come up on stage and respond to their remarks. It is most likely that Pence did not seek an opportunity to reply either because he did not want to or it did not occur to him. In any event, I repeat, there is no evidence he was actually prevented from giving a reply had he wanted to.
You are right, it is not a political earthquake. So then why are Trump supporters making such a big deal out of it. This thing has become the big news item/controversy it is largely because of the reaction of Trump supporters.
Finally, your argument for amending the Constitution is a seriously crappy one.
My very light hearted comment about the incident was meant in a jokey spirit. If I was factually incorrect at any point please don’t let it trouble you any further, I’m sure you have analyzed the event closely so I will take your word for it.
Of course Pence could have responded if he really wanted to but I think what we can’t escape from was the fact that he was on a night out at the theatre, he had paid for a ticket to see a show. To use their show as a political protest against a paying audience member like that was just a bit rude in my opinion. Wrong place, wrong time.
As for your response to my blog post on the First Amendment it was:
a) Also a bit rude which was uncalled for as I was not rude to you personally at any point. Don’t lets stir up another storm in a teacup though, I forgive you.
b) Not an argument.
Seriously though you’re missing the point here.
What the Donald is doing here is turning the tables on the left by using their own “weapons” (actually not very dangerous weapons made mostly out of cardboard with some half-intelligible words scribbled hastily on them (often complete with spelling mistakes)). By declaring theatres to be “safe spaces” in this way lefties may run for the hills petrified before the onslaught of an enemy now not only ARMED with their own feeble weapons, but prepared to USE THEM. How to respond??? Safe spaces are important, safe spaces are inviolable!!!
Wise up!! The Donald is not proposing a new LAW here!! He is not promising to legislate against feeble speeches by narrow minded thespians. The right have been losing this ideological war for far too long, precisely because we have been forever trying to “play cricket”, play fair. That brilliant film “the Life and Times of Colonel Blimp” springs to mind here. Politeness be damned, let the Donald speak, stop trying to “no-platform” the man…
Think about what is happening here – the lefties on the stage are not playing fair. The audience member Pence and his entourage cannot fight back – they are effectively HOSTAGES in this situation!!! Pence was not in a position to make a counter-speech, all he could do was sit there and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous thespians. Of course the Donald was maddened by the situation, of course he was. He responded in kind, with mere words.
On the day the Donald begins to draft new legislation making it illegal for thespians to hold politicians hostage in their private time, then, but only THEN will I will concede this argument to you.
All a bit theatrical of course, as befits the occasion…
“he has no intellectual grounding whatsoever…,.” That’s the rub for you isn’t it? You just can’t bear the thought that he is so far beneath your own self- proclaimed intellectual superiority! Oh! Dear….he tried to fire you! You, the academic intellectual who is so superior to him! Imagine the scenario….The Chancellor walks into a theatre to enjoy a pleasant evening and at the end of it, the artists on the stage stand up and give him a lecture. Not terribly respectful….notice trump said nothing about the booing….that’s because that’s all part of politics….lecturing someone who is the Vice President is extremely disrespectful regardless of what you think of him……especially, as Trump said, that a theatre is NOT the place for this. I used to be a dancer with the Royal Ballet. If any of my fellow colleagues had ended a performance in such a way, I would have felt like knocking their heads off. Art is art…it’s a magic to enthrall and inspire….not to be dragged into the filth of political point scoring. All I can say is, they are not artists but imbeciles…shallow, hollow and mean…..no true artist would behave like that hence the spectacle of the self promoting Cummerbach who took time out at the end if a performance to swear at the at the disgusting ” unintellectual white yobos who were daring to vote for Brexit. It seems to have slipped your Trump bashing brain that he was not complaining about himself….he was complaining about the lack of respect and the rudeness displayed in a place where these things should be off limits. I bet Mister Obama would have been furious…he is very big on his own auspicious dignity……I think it’s about time you got a bit real….I know you hate Trump….he’s very hateable to some……he may also fall far short of all his big talk…you try going up against the whole establishment in the USA….virtually impossible even with a humongous intellect……..but it’s still better than World War 3!
Amanda, your argument doesn’t even make sense. Why are you taking this so personally? Why attack the author of this blog because you disagree? I am also an artist and performer, and you failed to mention that art also is meant to challenge, inspire, and make statements about the events of a time period. Take Goya, for instance; heck, take ballet in the 40s in Britain and their take upon the political climate. In music, take pretty much any rock song from the 1960s, in theatre, Les Miserables… the list is pretty extensive, and I can think of very few art pieces that don’t. What does this have to do with intellect? I’m very sorry that you feel the need to make sardonic trolling comments because you feel intellectually inferior and insecure. As an American who has lived in England, I would have to say that it is hard to have the whole picture on politics in a country you are not living in because of lack of media coverage, and also because of perspective. I wholeheartedly agree with the author of this blog, and this is coming from someone who was once conservative from Texas. So please, stick to what you know.
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“….no true artist would behave…”
Are you familiar with logical fallacies? In particular, are you familiar with the logical fallacy known as the no-true-scotsman fallacy? I am going to venture a guess that you are not. Because if you were you would not have employed such an obvious example of one in your remarks.