A reflection on the hit musical.
“What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
Those are the words in the song about Alexander Hamilton’s death. In the a capella portion Hamilton reflects on his life, his friends, his enemies his love and his ambitions. An orphan immigrant. He never forgets that. He never lets the audience forget that. No one lets him forget that. So why have I chosen to start at his death? Why have I chosen to start at the end? It’s because death isn’t the end. Hamilton hasn’t seen his legacy. He hasn’t see the flowers that have blossomed in his garden.
Unlike Hamilton, I am not an orphan. I am the son of immigrants. My father was born in the Dominican Republic. My mother was born here, but her mother was born in the Dominican Republic as well. Like Alexander, like Lin Manuel, I am also from an island in the Caribbean. In Lin Manuel’s interpretations of this story he found parallels to his life, and I’ve found my own.
Now I was born in New York City, I have seen the good and the bad of my home. Revolution was in the air when Hamilton arrived. He was 19. Between Aaron Burr, Sir, My Shot, and The Story of Tonight, camaraderie is in the air. The establishment of Hamilton’s closest friends agree with him and want to fight just as much as he does.
Right Hand Man brings in our General Washington. But before that Hamilton talks about wanting a war, wanting to fight for something. Our General says it quite eloquently, “Out gunned, out manned.” Deserters low morale rob the ranks. Hamilton steals the British troops’ cannons. Eventually the two men meet. Washington notices the young man’s desire to fight. A desire that slowly becomes an overbearing frustration. Quite noticeable during Staying Alive. While Washington is shouting attack and the newly appointed General Lee, is ordering a retreat. He proves useless in the battle. When beckoned by Washington, Hamilton—ready to battle—is quickly disappointed when Washington orders for Lafayette to take the lead. The turmoil to fight and do something is drilling into him, his desire to do something great, to do something amazing taunts him and drives him almost insane.
Another trait Hamilton and I share is our ability with words a writer, a journalist. Unlike him, I am a fictional writer. I am a story teller. Quick witted, and quick to defend the Constitution., with Hamilton writing 51 of the Federalist papers, this is just a sample of the times that he’s used his words to advance in our world at the time. Something I only wish to achieve deep down. In Hurricane, his lyrics, “I wrote my way out.” shows the power in his words. Later he says, “And when my prayers to God were met with indifference, I picked up a pen, I wrote my deliverance.” He found hope in his writing, he found salvation, isn’t that every writer’s dream?
If given the opportunity I would audition for the role of George Washington. I can hit the notes, I can throw the rhymes, but it’s Washington’s love of our young country that I truly. His warnings to Hamilton about neutrality, partisan fighting, resonate with his love. His wishes to see the country grow, to be able to sit back in Virginia and watch it become great strikes a chord in my soul. Once more I have to reiterate to you that I am an American and I love my country. We have done things that I am not proud of, we have done things that I am. I cannot do anything for the atrocities America has committed, I can only hope to educate my fellow Americans to the best of my abilities so that we learn and never repeat these mistakes. Midway through the song, you’re indulged byWashington’s final address as president of the United States. He admits his imperfectness and wishes that the citizens will live freely and happily. The song ends with George Washington returning home to Virginia.
The story behind Hamilton is one of acceptance. We’re all immigrants here in this country. I don’t care how many generations of family you’ve had here, unless you’re from a tribe of Native Americans, you’re an immigrant. There are those of us that came willingly here, and those of us who were forced. Much like our founding fathers, we will fight for our rights. Remember that We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I know not for what purpose I have written this. As it stands at this moment, I am overwhelmed in emotion and love towards not only towards the work of art but towards my country as well. I catch myself holding back tears of joy, frustration, anguish and love while listening to the original cast’s recording. If everyone truly wants to learn about our country, and our history, I implore to please listen to this.
My only hope is that we can sit under our own vines and fig trees and raise our glasses to freedom.