An opportunity missed

This week the cast of Hamilton realized that Michael Pence, the incoming VP, would be in the audience. They decided to reach out to him from the stage after the show.

Their message was pointed yet highly respectful: “We, sir — we — 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,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

The audience cheered and applauded wildly. After all, this was New York, and those words spoke quite directly to what Donald Trump had said on the campaign stump.

Pence responded with grace, taking the time to listen attentively to what the creators of Hamilton had to say before leaving the theater. He clearly understood that this difficult time of transition requires an ability to listen, to understand that power comes with certain obligations, including an ability to properly read an emotional moment and to respond appropriately.

It could have been a real moment of triumph for Pence. If it had ended there, it would have been an opportunity for him to show the populace that this incoming administrations takes seriously the need to listen to the concerns of American citizens, whatever side of the aisle they may be on.

Unfortunately for Pence, it seems his moment of would-be triumph was immediately dashed by tweets from an internet troll. Alas, I suspect there will be a lot more of that sort of thing in the days, weeks and months to come.

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