What happened at 'Hamilton' last night says a lot about the kind of America we want to be.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence wanted to be in the room where it happens. So he went to see "Hamilton" on Nov. 18, 2016.

But when Pence arrived at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City to see the critically acclaimed hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, he was met with a chorus of boos and jeers (and, for the record, a few scattered claps).

Matthew Anderson, a theater buff visiting New York from Minneapolis said the display before the show was unlike anything he'd seen.

Pence was brought to his seat shortly before the show began.


"All of a sudden it was this rising, booing, general sounds of disapproval," Anderson said. "You couldn't miss it. Everyone in the mezzanine and the upper levels was standing up and craning over to see what was going on."

From his seat, Anderson heard mostly jeers and hissing, though one man yelled out, "We love you, Mike."

But once the show started, Anderson said things were essentially back to normal ... almost.

"Everyone was just in it, immediately," he said. Though the audience did respond with thunderous applause and cheers during certain moments, including Angelica Schuyler dreaming of including women in the founding of the country.

"I have to think it was a much bigger reaction than that line usually gets," Anderson said. "I'm sure it's usually warmly received, but this definitely felt like it was ... as much about who was in the house hearing the support for it."

Meanwhile, news of the brief but raucous display quickly spread to the internet, where a virtual debate fired up on Twitter: Was the audience right to boo Pence?

First, he's vice president-elect, and for some people, that was enough of a reason not to boo.

And vice president-elect or not, seeing a show starring people of color about an immigrant leading America to victory in the Revolutionary War and founding some of the nation's most sustaining institutions isn't a bad thing, right?

On the other hand, Pence has done little for women, people who are LGBTQ, and people of color — the very people starring in the show he happily paid to see.

With tensions high in and outside the theater, the cast of "Hamilton" came to the stage for their curtain call and read a letter to Pence as he left his seat.

Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr (a former vice president), called to Pence. According to The New York Times, a show spokesman said that Pence stood outside the entrance to the auditorium and heard the full remarks from the hallway.

The message, written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, and lead producer Jeffrey Seller, with contributions from cast members, is worth a watch and read:

The key part is this:

"Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at 'Hamilton: An American Musical,' we really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again we truly thank you for sharing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations."

"It was the opposite of the audience reaction at the top, which felt very hostile and confrontational," Anderson said. "It was deeply respectful. It was warm, and it felt like it was very much in keeping with the spirit of the show we had just watched."

Despite the unifying message, Donald Trump couldn't help but get involved as the story continued the day after.

But here's what the president-elect, the vice president-elect, and all of us need to remember, especially in uncertain times: Dissent is not disrespectful; it's American.

In the United States, we can dissent, demonstrate, debate, and disagree without fear of prosecution or imprisonment. At least that's what our founders, like Alexander Hamilton, intended.

Those booing were voicing their frustration and displeasure at a man with a long and storied history of disrespect and outright wrongdoing toward traditionally underrepresented people.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

And here is his record.

Pence suggested women seek funerary services for miscarried or aborted fetuses. That's disrespectful.

Pence supported diverting taxpayer money to conversion therapy programs for gay and lesbian people, including children. And he suggested Congress oppose any measure that would put same-sex marriages on equal footing with heterosexual marriages.  That's disrespectful.

Pence slashed public health spending in Indiana, forcing a Planned Parenthood to close in Scott County, the one HIV testing center in the area. As intravenous opioid use rose, so did needle sharing. Pence opposed needle exchanges too. Soon, the county saw as many as 20 new cases of HIV each week. More than 200 cases were diagnosed before the outbreak ended. That's disrespectful.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Pence runs the transition team for a newly elected president who has yet to condemn those committing hate crimes and violence in his name on Twitter but has spoken out against The New York Times six times and the cast of "Hamilton" twice. That's disrespectful.

But people who disagree with him should keep their mouths shut when he steps out to enjoy a night of entertainment performed by men and women of color and led by a gay, HIV+, Latino actor? No. Not today. Not ever.

Disagreeing with Pence and others of his ilk isn't disrespectful; it's powerful and necessary.

Comparing a few minutes of hurt feelings with the systematic oppression and silencing of women, people who are LGBTQ, low-income people, and people of color is not just incorrect — it's dangerous.

The actions, decisions, and campaign promises of the Trump-Pence administration are not OK. They're divisive, hateful, and xenophobic. Standing up to toxic bigotry like that, by marching in protest, with calls to elected officials or boos in a theater is absolutely vital.

George Washington University students and others protest the election of Donald Trump at the White House. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

And if the president-elect or vice president-elect have a problem with this, they can take a cue from "Hamilton" itself:

"'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'
We fought for these ideals; we shouldn’t settle for less."
True

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday are teaming up to find the people who lead with love everyday.

Know someone in your neighborhood who's known for their optimistic attitude, commitment to bettering their community and always leading with love? Tell us about them for the chance to win a $2,000 grant to keep doing good in their community.

Nomination ends November 22, 2020

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

Well, it appears as though she should have left the box blank because the computer or incredibly literal human that designed the photographs wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" where mason's name should be.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Going against most standard business advice, Bill Penzey has never hesitated to make his beliefs known to the people who buy his products. The outspoken CEO of Penzey's Spices, America's largest independent spice retailer, made headlines when he directly called out President Trump's racism after his election, and this February he published a public statement decrying the "corruption and cruelty" he says have taken over the Republican party.

Penzey, whose business headquarters reside just outside of Milwaukee, has been openly supportive of the protests against racial injustice taking place all over the nation. But after protests in Kenosha became riotous, someone wrote him a letter suggesting that if it were his store being looted, he'd be singing a different tune.

Bill Penzey pondered this idea. Then he sent out a letter to subscribers and explained that no, he actually wouldn't.

The letter reads:

Keep Reading Show less
via UDOT / Facebook

In December 2018, The Utah Department of Transportation opened the largest wildlife overpass in the state, spanning 320 by 50 feet across all six lanes of Interstate 80.

Its construction was intended to make traveling through the I-80 corridor in Summit County safer for motorists and the local wildlife.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there were over 100 animal incidents on the interstate since 2016, giving the stretch of highway the unfortunate nickname of "Slaughter Row."

Keep Reading Show less