To say it’s been a difficult year would be an understatement. Racial tension, political scandal, rampant xenophobia, blatant misogyny and unadulterated idiocy have plagued the American political climate nonstop. In a matter of months, the country has seen a radical turnover of ideology and political power — and arguably has set the scene for revolution.
While the current state of affairs may be a far cry from the scene of the eighteenth-century American Revolution, many today are encountering the same obstacles as those back then: oppression, powerlessness, prejudice, spinelessness — the list goes on.
Hamilton, the 2016 American musical following the life of Alexander Hamilton pre- and post-revolution, has gained massive popularity by reviving America’s revolutionary spirit, particularly among young people and minorities.
Its story remains just as relevant and empowering as its factual occurrence over two centuries ago. ere are just a few tracks (out of 46, totaling over two hours) that you can take inspiration from regarding:
Your beginnings: “Alexander Hamilton”
Takeaway: Many revolutionaries get off to a rough start, some more so than others. As appears the legendary case of Alexander Hamilton — a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, impoverished and in squalor — your origins can motivate your fight and shape your story.
Your opponents: “Aaron Burr, Sir”
Takeaway: Everyday, the American public is let down by elected representatives who seem to prioritize their own interests over those of the public and the future of the country. In those instances, demand accountability from your government for the stances they fail to take and the voices they neglect to make heard — because if you stand for nothing, what’ll you fall for?
Your voice: “Your Obedient Servant”
Takeaway: Throughout his life, Hamilton remained unapologetic of his progressive and, at times, controversial career. Though you may not quite yet be prepared to bleed out from a gun wound at the hands of your longtime political rival, Hamilton’s bold refusals to back down or back off are inspiring, at the very least.
Your anthem: “My Shot”
Takeaway: There will always — always — be a million reasons not to do something, and believe me, being a college student is not a good reason. You are uniquely surrounded by opportunities to become a part of something bigger than yourself, so make every action an act of creation, smash every expectation and do not throw away your shot.
Your story: “The World Was Wide Enough”
Takeaway: No one in history has ever singlehandedly changed the social, political and economic landscape of an entire nation — and no one expects you to. America is, as Lin-Manuel Miranda writes, a “great unfinished symphony.” Your challenge is not to complete the masterpiece, it is to do your part and pass it on before you go.
Your legacy: “History Has Its Eyes on You”
Takeaway: It’s often difficult to expect that you can play any significant role in the making of a better future, and even more difficult to imagine that your contributions will be remembered in the years to come.
Our generation, however, has a multitude of platforms from which to fight the good fight. Whether through social media, large-scale protests or one-on-one discussion, now more than ever, history does indeed have its eyes on you.