Trump’s Hamilton Tweets — just sloppy, or something far more seriously troubling?

November 21, 2016. Scott Sumner

I can only think of two explanations for what Trump’s Hamilton Tweets demonstrate.

But first, Trump claimed Mr. Dixon’s words were harassing, yes, and later, that the cast was rude, yes? Some definitions, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:

ha·rass\hə-ˈras; ˈher-əs, ˈha-rəs\

  • : to annoy or bother (someone) in a constant or repeated way
  • * : to make repeated attacks against (an enemy)

rude\ˈrüd\

adjective

  • : not having or showing concern or respect for the rights and feelings of other people

So exactly which of Mr. Dixon’s words fit those definitions?

“Rude?” What in Dixon’s plea that the new administration “protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, … defend us … uphold our inalienable rights, … truly hope that [the] show … inspired [Pence] to uphold … American values and to work on behalf of all of us” shows any lack of ‘concern or respect for the rights and feelings of other people’?

Nothing rude there? Okay, then how about “harassing?”

After admonishing those audience members who were doing so to cease booing Pence, Dixon stated that the play and all the audience including Pence were “sharing a story of love. We have a message for you, sir, and we hope that you will hear us out.” Then the ‘cast welcomed Pence and thanked him for attending.’ Mr. Dixon ‘encouraged audience members to pull out their phones to record and to post on social media,’ and stated “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.”

Putting aside that no part of the message was delivered in ‘a constant or repeated way,’ what about the Hamilton story and/or Mr. Dixon’s plea is ‘bothering’ or ‘annoying’ to Pence, to Trump?

Is it love?

Protection of us, our planet, our children, our parents?

American rights and values?

The request to work on behalf of all of us? (Mind you, Trump’s erstwhile supporters and many in the media have urged us all to give Trump a chance and act in unity).

If none of those things are ‘bothering’ or ‘annoying’ (and none of those things should be) what then explains Trump’s Tweets?

And here are the only two explanations that I can think of: either Trump (1) wrongly and sloppily assumed — without any information at all as to what was actually said — that the message was an ‘annoying’ or ‘bothering’ message, or (2) Trump knew what had been said and consciously, intentionally, mischaracterized the casts’ message to achieve a particular effect upon his listeners.

Either of these explanations is certainly troubling, but the latter explanation is both insidious and disturbing because intentional misrepresentation of fact to achieve a particular effect on a media audience is the definition of propaganda:

pro·pa·gan·da\ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də, ˌprō-\

noun

  • : ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.

Please, if anyone can either offer some other circumstances that explain Trump’s. statements, or at least find a way to insure me it was the former explanation I offered, I would truly find comfort in hearing it.