Woodstock: We haven't had that spirit here since 1969

“Hamilton,” the biggest smash hit in American musical theater history finally has made its way to our state.

The show made its Broadway debut in August of 2015 and is now on its third national tour. “Hamilton” is open from now until Aug. 18 at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City, then will move to Tulsa through Sept. 8.

The show is the story of Alexander Hamilton, referred to in the lyric of the opening number as “the 10 dollar founding father.” He was a revolutionary, America’s first secretary of the treasury and the man responsible not only for developing the nation’s economic system, but also for founding the Coast Guard and the New York Post newspaper.

Early in the first act Hamilton meets Aaron Burr, who would become his lifelong frenemy and the man who, on July 11, 1804, mortally wounded Hamilton in a duel conducted in Weehawken, N.J., across the Hudson River from New York City.

During their first meeting the more conservative, less flamboyant Burr urges his new, hot-headed and uber ambitious new friend to “talk less, smile more, don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.”

Which brings us to the present age, to a speech by Megan Rapinoe, star of the American women’s soccer team that earlier this summer won the Women’s World Cup.

“We have to be better. We have to love more. Hate less,” she said in her victory speech in Hamilton’s New York. “We’ve got to listen more and talk less. It’s our responsibility to make the world a better place.”

Love more. Hate less. What a concept.

Where does that fit in the fractured nation in which we live? Rapinoe’s inspirational words were criticized by some because of her comments during the World Cup that she was not “going to the bleeping White House,” only she didn’t say bleeping. Later she jokingly said she wasn’t going to the White House unless she was inaugurated.

For this she was labeled bitter, and a poor sport. She could have heeded Burr’s advice and not let anyone know what she was against or for, but she chose to make her feelings known, a right she shares with every American, no matter their political stripe.

Love more. Hate less.

We’ve picked sides, blue, red, conservative, progressive, we wear our labels proudly. And that’s fine, to a point. But we’ve got to remember that first and foremost we all share a couple of labels — Americans and just plain human beings.

As Americans we have to remember we’re all in this together, like it or not. To get anything accomplished we need to work together, not spend all our time trying to prove we’re right and our neighbor is wrong.

Love more. Hate less.

Nowhere in this philosophy is there room for comments like those recently made by the president about the Baltimore district of Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, which Mr. Trump called “disgusting, rat and rodent infested.”

Overlooking the fact that rats are, indeed, rodents, the president’s comment was not only unhelpful and unkind, but overlooked the fact that Mr. Trump’s hometown of NYC boasts far more rats than Baltimore. In fact, in a list of Americas “50 Rattiest Cities,” compiled by pest control giant Orkin, New York ranks third behind Chicago and Los Angeles, while Baltimore comes in ninth. Even Washington, D.C., Mr. Trump’s current home, is ranked higher than “Charm City,” placing No. 4 on the rat rating scale.

Love more. Hate less.

How hard is it? Pretty hard, apparently. A group of four black Democrat Congresswomen, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, who have dubbed themselves “The Squad,” have drawn fire for their criticism of the president and his policies. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called them “a bunch of communists,” and said “They hate Israel. They hate our own country.”

In this so-called enlightened age, when we have more access to communication and information than ever before, how has opposition to the president’s policies become construed as hating our country?

Hate less. Love more.

Love is color blind. It doesn’t see white or black, red or blue. It sees only human beings. The question those who run this country need to ask themselves is not “how can I stay in power,” but “how can I help the less fortunate among us?”

That may be too much to hope for when it comes to our government. But how about “We the people?” What if we made up our minds to hate less, love more? What kind of agents of change could we be in our city, our state, heck, the whole world, if we tried to live out this philosophy day to day.

Hate less. Love more. It couldn’t hurt.

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Mullin is an award-winning writer and columnist who recently retired after 41 years with the News & Eagle. Email him at janjeff2002@yahoo.com.

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I have been with the News & Eagle since 1976 and the Vance Airscoop editor since 2006.