Recently, our Vice President – elect, Mike Pence, and his family attended the highly acclaimed musical Hamilton in New York City. Tickets apparently cost in the hundreds of dollars apiece and Mr. Pence’s tickets were not free.
However, at the end of the show, the lead in the cast, with his fellow actors nearby, took the time to lecture Mr. Pence and his family about diversity and being a country for all the people. Of course, there was no opportunity for response, perspective or listening to his common or opposing views. There was no thank you for serving, Governor Pence, or other accolades. Like so much of today’s commentary, it was a one-way ambush, intolerant of others who might disagree.
And before we argue that actor’s right to his views, compare the Vice President elect’s treatment with the current President’s greetings when his family attended the same musical. They were welcomed backstage, honored and thanked for coming with no lecture in sight. Sadly, this one-way sermonizing has become too common in our country. Too many claim openness and honesty if it’s one direction, if it agrees with their perspective but not the other side.
Similar responses are everywhere and growing more acceptable at least in the Hollywood, media, New York, music and other elitist worlds. And while we would be wrong to say that people can’t speak honestly about people, politics and perspectives, we need to keep talking about and exposing how disingenuous and intolerant dissent against certain acceptable views is these days.
And it seems that much of this one-sided attitude and arrogance comes from those who have little reason to be heard in the first place. Why should we base our moral and wise choices on the thoughts of an actor, musician, writer, professor or athlete any more than anyone else. Just because they have a platform doesn’t make them right.
But if there is a truth that much of our country at least claims to be universal it’s that all people have a right to their views and opinions, even actions, provided they don’t hurt others or break a current law. Sadly, many in the public arena don’t accept that. From what I could tell from the Hamilton clip his comments about accepting all people didn’t really include anyone who disagreed with him!
So, we can respond in whatever way we choose. And I’m not suggesting boycotts here but I plan to quit attending some of their performances, or buying their music or watching their late night programming or following their Facebook pages or reading their books and the like if they’re going to lecture me on what they think but not hear or respect the other side.
I’ll also increase my respect for and interest in those who disagree with me and yet do it with open mind and a listening ear to the opposition. It’s that kind of openness and dialogue that this country was founded on and that I’m hoping to see more of once people quit embracing the vocal majority, many of whom don’t know what they’re talking about anyway.