Shortly after the election, I narrowly missed history.
To be more specific, I attended Hamilton one evening after Mike Pence’s drama-filled visit. I couldn’t bring myself to write about it at the time. Maybe because it all felt too raw — separated from the election by just over a week, and crossing midtown blocks in the shadow of Trump’s looming tower. Or maybe it was because I was embarrassed to be there at all. After all, what better symbol of disconnected privilege than a seat at the Richard Rodgers Theater ? (the very cheapest seat in the house, to be clear. It was labeled “partial view”).
Anyway, we took our seats wondering if another incident might follow. It didn’t, though I clapped my little hands as hard as I could at “immigrants, we get the job done.” For me, I’m glad Brandon Dixon said what he did, and I think he did it respectfully. Seems like Pence took it okay, too.
Since then, of course I’ve had the music stuck in my head. All the songs, but especially “The Schuyler Sisters,” and specifically these lines:
Look around, look around at how
Lucky we are to be alive right now!
History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be
In the greatest city in the world!
It’s about perspective, right? Is “lucky” really how it felt to be in New York on the eve of revolution? But history was happening — as it always is, but acutely so. Which means individual actions held a particular power.
Well, history sure is happening right now. And most of the time, “lucky” isn’t the word I’d use to describe my feelings about living through it. How about “unsettled” or “terrified”?
But. These are also times that shake us out of complacency. That galvanize action. That shape critical choices we are all making, for our families and careers and future. And so maybe, just maybe, “lucky” is exactly the word for it. We all have a clear challenge before us. The challenge of healing a world that feels on the precipice of darkness. If we take up that challenge, then perhaps we evolve into something much better, individually and collectively, than we ever would have become if not confronted so directly by the hatred.
How’s that for lucky?