Last night Mike Pence went to see Hamilton (or, as I like to call it, the musical that’s been crammed down my throat by Google News daily for the last 9 months). I don’t know why he chose to do that. Maybe he wanted to learn something. Maybe he was trying to show support for the diversity of the country. Maybe it was some kind of attempt to bring the country together. Maybe he just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. But he’s a human being who wanted to see a play, so he went to see it. Please note, I wasn’t there, I am simply reporting on what I have read in articles and on Twitter.
Mike Pence is just about everything I loathe about Republicans. As a libertarian, I don’t have a ton in common with Mike Pence except for fiscal conservatism and hopefully a great mutual love of the Constitution. I’m pro-gay rights, I support amnesty and love immigrants and diversity and am (vehemently) opposed to any kind of registry for anyone ever. I do not support the idea of America as a Christian nation and have fought against the notion for over 25 years. But. The way Mike Pence, human, was treated at that theater was really, really awful. First, he was booed by nearly the whole crowd – so much so, and so threateningly, that he felt like he needed to leave. Then he was called out by a cast member of the show and basically prevented from leaving. Physically, I’m sure he could have left, but they kind of painted him into a corner where he really couldn’t. Politically and personally, it would have reflected badly upon him had he left at that point.
Then, over the course of the next few hours, he was jeered and booed by the crowd to such extent that the actors had to stop several times. At the end of the play the cast read what I felt to be a very nice message (got no problem with that) and then Pence went outside where he was surrounded by a crowd of over 100 people in the street and jeered some more. Donald Trump apparently issued a tweet about the whole thing later, in his usual obnoxious, abrasive style.
This is apparently what happened according to people who were actually there and who took videos on their phones to prove it. 90% of media is reporting on this as “Mike Pence Saw Hamilton. The Cast Had Something to Say.” or “Donald Demands Apology.” Most articles do not mention or minimize the bullying on the part of the crowd and the people outside the theater, and then paste Trump’s tweet on the end making it look like Trump was taking exception to the very nice statement the cast made, and not the hours of boos, jeers, and threatening behavior that Mike Pence, human, endured. Which I’m sure Donald probably was, a little bit, but it was in the greater context of the evening’s events. The crowd’s behavior set the tone – that very nice statement given by the cast comes over a little bit differently when you know that it was given after a human being had just been verbally abused for 3 or 4 hours straight on the basis of their political and religious beliefs.
This is not how you win people over, Blue Tribers. This is mob-rule behavior. Can you not see that? It is deeply troubling to me, a person who voted for Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, that you cannot see that. That you are not troubled by this and in fact feel fully entitled to treat people in this fashion because they’re not on your team. This is scary even to people like me – who mostly agree with you, guys – the ‘grab yer torches and pitchforks’ thinking and then the media spinning it to use the whole thing to make bullies into heroes (if you are in a theater full of people who completely agree with you and you’re all booing one person, you are not “courageously standing up to Mike Pence”) and Donald Trump look insane (he really doesn’t need your help with that, please just be HONEST, media, so I can trust what you are reporting to me).
You know why I’m saying this?? It’s not because I’m a Trump apologist. It is because I am deeply concerned with the mob mentality of those on the left side of the aisle, and this constant spinning of reality to fit the social justice narrative. I saw this happening years before Donald Trump was running for president and have been saying so, only to have my “friends” turn their vitriol on me. People I’d known my entire life turned on me over the very suggestion that the progressive movement might need to tone down their divisive rhetoric and give people a chance to catch up.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence are easy to hate, that’s for sure. But I cannot help but think there is a deeper problem here. I for one think this narrative would have been happening even if a milquetoast like Romney or Jeb Bush had won the election. I think it would have continued even if Hillary Clinton had won. Not towards her, of course, but millions of American people who self-ID as conservatives or Christians. I think we all should be very, very concerned by it. I don’t want to live in a world where people of particular viewpoints and beliefs – ANY of them – are singled out for ridicule.