Fourth of July
Here’s To the People, Hamilton, and our Great Nation
By Dave Karp
“I’m just like my country; I’m young, scrappy and hungry”
-One of the earlier lyrics from the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton: An American Musical which is song by the first secretary of the treasury himself, Alexander Hamilton.
I’m sorry, I meant first secretary of the treasury, aide du camp of George Washington, co-writer of the Federalist Papers, Founding Father, immigrant from the Caribbean who believed in freedom Revolutionary and one of the most influential people in our country’s story, among other things.
Yes, I’ve seen Hamilton, and as long as you haven’t been living under a rock, you have at least heard of it.
Theatre is one of the biggest loves of my life, parallel to writing, and I have had the pleasure of both speaking with Lin- Manuel Miranda’s dad at an event I went to at the Public Theatre (where Hamilton was birthed) and also had the pleasure of peeing next to Lin himself. That’s a story for another time.
The two of them are some of the smartest people I have ever had the pleasure of speaking to/listening to, and Lin’s vision of Hamilton and the founding of America is one of the very reasons I love this country so much. For you see, and how quickly we forget in our busy everyday lives as we lose ourselves at times in the headlines thrown at us, the American story belongs to everyone here. Like Hamilton, everyone who has come to our land of the free has a story to tell, and it is important that we remember that. And throughout time, millions of stories have been lived out, and it makes this country great.
In Hamilton, we are reminded that without the Marquis de Lafayette and the help of the French, we may have not won that battle in Yorktown, the last major battle of the American Revolution. Without the spirit of a country who wanted freedom for all, we may have not ended up becoming a free world. And if Alexander Hamilton had never immigrated to America from the Caribbean, George Washington may not have had the perfect right hand man for a revolution, or we may have not had the monetary system we do today, or the victories key to our freedom, or some of the key documents of our country, including our Constitution.
Lin’s vision has not only told the story of one amazing man using the diversity and culture of America now, but he has also opened the floor for other stories to be heard. A generation has been inspired because Lin gave everyone in this country, despite race, color, sex and orientation an opportunity and platform to feel a part of the story of America, as everyone in the country despite where you are from should, because our own stories have only begun or are waiting to be told.
On a more personal note, I came to America when I was a baby from Peru. My parents gave me up for adoption to an American family so I could have a better life, as my biological mother was very poor and our country was having its own troubles with government and terrorism. As a result, I was given to the family I have now and they brought me to America. Being the only the Latino in my family and growing up (and still to this day) with a diverse group of friends and family, I have heard many stories and live my own “American experience”, as everyone does. And let me tell you, it’s one of the most beautiful parts of living her in America. It is such a melting pot, and I have the opportunity to experience so many cultures and hear so many stories that one may not necessarily be able to experience in other places in the world, and for that we should feel extremely grateful and lucky.
As July 4th arrives, I remember how beautiful this country is, how epic its story is, how amazing its entire people are, and look forward to being a part of its chapters and I hope you do too. And as George Washington states to Hamilton in the song before the Battle of Yorktown in one of the panicle moments of Act 1: “History has its eyes on you.”