Like so many others, my May trip to New York to see a couple of Broadway shows was cancelled. The theater business won’t worry about my business. They know my wife and I will be back. In fact, they might even sing “You’ll Be Back” to us, except without the sarcasm it normally brings as part of Hamilton.
In the play, the song is sung by King George III to the American Revolutionists. It is sung with great confidence by a monarch who simply knows better than these pesky freedom seekers across the pond. Only a king can possibly govern such a childish sort. And like President Trump these days, George suggested he could show how he cares by sending “a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.” The witty mockery in that song is even funnier when comparing it to the goings on in our real-life political universe, in a setting two and half centuries later.
Our current president is threatening to use the nation’s military to “dominate” American protestors back into subservient order. Most recently, he’s threatening to invade Seattle. How did he threaten to “take back” the city from their protestors? By tweet of course.
In part, his undignified and extremely un-presidential message to Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said: “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will.” He is threatening his own constituents again, very much the way King George would have done. And like leaders of the American Revolution, the governor and the mayor are having none of it.
Inslee quickly responded with: “A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. The U.S. military serves to protect Americans, not the fragility of an insecure president.” And the mayor was sharper in her retort with: “Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker…”
Seattle has bigger things to worry about, like one of its biggest corporate citizens, Starbucks, losing more than $3 billion in revenue, 4.5% of its stock value, and its announcement of 400 store closures this week. And that was before the coffee behemoth decided to ban its employees from wearing “Black Lives Matter” gear while on the job. #BoycottStarbucks is trending on Twitter over that last one as I write this–not the best way to end what is likely already the company’s worst week.
The White House is likely suspicious of the Starbucks losses as a conspiracy to unfairly hurt the “president’s numbers.” Maybe next week, the military will consider seizing all remaining Latte Machiattos the company has left, just to show them how to “own the libs.”
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has already announced his opposition to mobilizing the military on Americans, which presumably includes Washingtonians. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said Thursday that he regretted participating in the ridiculous photo op last week at Lafayette Square by commenting that “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.” What was the big deal on that one? The military was used only briefly, and only by using tear gas, rubber bullets and batons to move some peaceful Americans one tiny city block to make room for a staged presidential strut across the street to pose with a borrowed Holy Bible.
Only a reality TV star could put on a less convincing act of religious devotion.
Which leads me back to Hamilton. When King George taunts the colonists with his song, he flamboyantly and hilariously struts across the stage, showing off his confidence that these lowly Americans would ever actually leave him. No way! Not him!
The king was fighting the inevitable, as Trump is today.
I will always remember the abrupt change in heart the people of Indiana had with regard to the idea of a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2014. Hoosiers ended up flipping on that fast. I did not think I would ever see a quicker change of heart on a hot button public policy issue again. I was wrong. Americans have finally had enough of the systemic racism in our law enforcement systems. George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter movement has become the top voting issue in what seems to be an even bigger election than the last biggest election ever.
Trump is singing “You’ll Be Back” just like King George did, only he’s off key and he can’t dance. And America won’t be coming back this time either.