Sunday, November 20, 2016

Free Speech: The Sword Cuts Both Ways

So this morning I read this.

I am an avid theater goer. My daughter is a frequent performer, choreographer and this spring, director, on the Dallas area stage. I understand her peers and performers are often a diverse and liberal lot, but I still accept them. When we have social events at her home, we celebrate a type of armed truce-they don't act out in outrageous fashion and I don't express views they would find upsetting. It's called manners-something sorely lacking in our society today.

Vice-President Elect Pence AND HIS WIFE attended "Hamilton", the recent Broadway smash hit. I'm sure he was interested, as many are, in the content and whether the play itself addresses the issues that produced our nation. But during and after the show, one of the actors felt it necessary to behave in a strident and truly disrespectful manner toward Mr. Pence. This is New York, part of the same city that produced such incorrect polling to assume the deeply flawed Hillary Clinton would win the presidency. So for the Times to chortle about this sort of public verbal flogging may play well in bastions of liberalism, but it does not do the theater or the musical well.

Consider this, supporters of the actor in question: Where else in the world would he get the kind of treatment needed to remain alive and HIV positive? Where else would he get social and medical support for his condition? Where else would he be even permitted to publicly claim his status as both gay and HIV+ in places outside the EU? So by that, this nation's Constitution has served him well, because he has free speech and access to those mechanisms necessary to survive.

But there is also this-you cannot just accept part of the Constitution. With great rights come great responsibilities and among those is the freedom to DISAGREE. While the actor from "Hamilton" was certainly free to express his opinions-did he take a poll to assure that they reflected every other player, union worker and member of the audience? Or did he instead use his position to play the bully and take what should be a positive social event and turn it into yet another boring liberal political moment?

Beyond the liberal coasts, this doesn't necessarily play well. I teach Art History and one thing we noted as a class is that art can only be produced in those societies functioning well enough to afford their members to do things beyond the production of goods for survival. Right now, as reflected in the recent election, many many more Americans feel this nation is headed down the wrong path. Americans by and large do not trust the media outlets, who have used their position to bully in a similar fashion and it is hurting them. Newspapers are struggling. And you would think that artists, being more creative and observant, would learn from their mistakes.

While "Hamilton" will be a huge hit in large and liberal cities, the power of a play or musical is it's "legs" or it's ability to endure. If Americans decide that "Hamilton" is too high minded or too offensive or too dismissive of mainstream American views, they will not buy tickets when it comes to their town. This means in addition that regional and local theater groups will not pay to perform it and the musical will wither and die on the vine, a forgotten relic of a contentious age-as have so many others. Either these "artists" in their self-serving rage have forgotten "The Play's the Thing" or they do not care if it dies.

Free speech works both ways. Sauce for the goose, baby, sauce for the gander.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Color Me Surprised

I voted for Trump.
I did it after much self-loathing because a vote for Hillary Clinton would have been so much worse.
Imagine my surprise that he won. I honestly didn't think he would win. My husband and I avoided all news outlets until 10:30 Tuesday night. We were in shock. I needed to go to bed, but I couldn't. I poured through RealClearPolitics state by state and county by county voting trends. I called Pennsylvania long, long before the networks. Florida hung at 99% for five hours. It was as if the MSM was loathe to admit Trump had won.

The next morning, three conservative teachers gathered in an out of the way classroom not to celebrate but to express utter relief that we would not be faced with a bitter and burdensome continuation of liberal goals.

Reading about the Clinton campaign's plans for her celebration (complete with confetti that would look like broken glass to represent the glass ceiling)I have to think she is and was totally out of touch with mainstream America and that was her undoing. You cannot go collecting demographic groups like stamps in an album and think the mail service will stop delivering the mail.