Mike Pence’s night at the theater

Remember when I said I would stop talking about politics after Nov. 8? Well … yeah.

The election is still a bit on the forefront of people’s minds. And it may stay that way for another four years.

I’m not trying to be the voice of reason. I’m not pretending that I am more lucid on this subject than most other people. But what I am trying to do is think about what’s happening from a sensible perspective.

Because in the aftermath of this contentious and divisive election, I feel like that is something missing in the conversation: sense. People are so angry and so emotional that they are speaking from their heart and not from their brain.

“Not my president” is the common calling card among protesters and dissenters. Well, guess what? He is your president. Unless you relinquish your citizenship and take refuge in another country, then Donald Trump is the legitimate leader of the country that you live in. And we must all deal it. It might take a while, but that process begins with sensible conversation.

Hamilton Pence.jpg

And yet, at the same time, it boggles my mind that people fail to understand why others are so unhappy with the result. Donald Trump denigrated various minority groups for a year and a half. He emboldened people who previously hid their hatred to lay it out in the open. So how can people be so blind to not realize that our nation’s most vulnerable residents feel threatened?

Perspective is needed on both sides.

My recent travels have taken me to North Carolina and Florida in the past 10 days — two states that, had either of them voted differently, we may be talking about President Hillary Clinton right now.

Well, after spending some time down there, I’m happy to report one central conclusion — America is still America.

People were not waving confederate flags in the streets. There were no people pledging allegiance to a giant mural of Donald Trump in a public square.

Rather, the two Republican-leaning states consisted of regular, everyday people, just like you and I.

For now, let’s just take this one day at a time. Work hard during the week, and enjoy your nights out over the weekend. We can all go a weekend without discussing politics, right?

Like Mike Pence, who on last Friday night decided to enjoy a performance of the universally-acclaimed Broadway show, Hamilton.

And then the encore happened.

I honestly don’t know why people are surprised. Hamilton reinterpreted American history to highlight the fundamental contributions that immigrants have made on this country. So when the show hosted the vice president-elect whose legislative record has not shown support towards women, minorities or members of the LGBT community, and who is part of an administration that’s boasted widely anti-immigrant sentiment, how could they stay silent?

Their message was cordial and compassionate; pleading yet respectful. And eloquent.

It was the furthest thing from harassment — as our president-elect stated — and was spoken on behalf of immigrants across the nation.

I am not a big fan of the theater. But even I know that Broadway is a beacon of expression. It’s the world’s epicenter for the arts. It’s where our most animated and theatrical souls unite to emote and to vocalize.

If not in that location, at that play, then where else do we tell this administration that we expect equal and fair treatment for all of our residents?

And if people want to boycott the show, then be my guest.

Maybe a dude can finally score some tickets after all.

Puerto Rico’s debt crisis: A blogger’s plea to save his homeland

Ideally, I’d like you all to believe that I am some type of mythical being. That I landed on Earth one day from a distant planet to fulfill my destiny of enlightening you all with the written word.

Sometimes I even wear a Superman shirt when I blog just to get into character.

OK, that’s not true. I did it one time, and it was because I wore it out the night before and didn’t change for like 36 hours. But that’s neither here nor there.

In truth, I’m a normal human just like you. Except I can probably spell better.

And while I have on a few occasions embraced my Jewish side here, I haven’t really tapped into the nationality I inherited from my mother, who was born outside the mainland United States in the great land of Puerto Rico.

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Not many people talk about Puerto Rico. Lots may not even know it’s an overseas territory of the United States. Puerto Ricans are Americans. They don’t vote for president, for some weird reason, but they’re American.

And the country is also mired in a massive debt crisis.

That debt equals equals more than $72 billion. Almost half its citizens are living in poverty. Schools are closing. Doctors are leaving. 80,000 jobs have been lost, and people are migrating to the states in massive numbers.

While Puerto Rico’s problems have been compounded by extremely poor fiscal decisions by their own officials, plenty of blame also falls on our own government.

In short, we used to offer hefty tax breaks for American businesses to relocate to Puerto Rico. And they did. But in 1996, inexplicably, we lifted those tax breaks. Companies left, and the economy slowed. The late 2000s global recession only worsened it. And here we are.

Weird quirks in U.S. laws and tax codes, including the inability for government institutions in Puerto Rico to file for bankruptcy — like those in the 50 states can — are making it increasingly difficult to solve this problem. Even worse, hedge funds and bond owners who invested in Puerto Rico’s debt are lobbying Congress to not change bankruptcy laws that would otherwise help the overseas territory.

I personally think this is a watershed moment for America. This presidential election hasLin-Manuel Miranda.jpg highlighted how many of our residents distrust outsiders. It’s also instilled a zealous sense of patriotism in many.

Well, this is 3.5 million people who are different than the typical American — about 95 percent of Puerto Ricans speak Spanish — and yet, they are American.

Helping Puerto Rico is not only a national obligation, but it’s the right thing to do. These are people who need our help. And if we want to live up to the principles and ideologies that our country was built on, then Congress will find a way.

Color me skeptical.

And if you don’t want to listen to me, then listen to Puerto Rico’s second most famous son, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Pulitzer Prize winning creator of Hamilton, who was recruited by John Oliver on Sunday night to lyricize about this issue (skip to 19:00 to see it).

In a way, I think this forever intertwines the Weinblog and Hamilton. The two of us are now historically linked for the rest of time.

One of them is sold out until 2017, and the other is … well, my mom tells me she enjoys reading it.

Us Puerto Ricans gotta stick together.

Alright, Hamilton is an amazing play. WE GET IT.

Anyone who knows anything about live theater is aware that Broadway is the place to be. It’s where every aspiring stage actor strives to end up, and is universally accepted as the epicenter of theater in the entire world.

And yes, when I write “theater,” I’m sounding it out in my head as obnoxiously as possible.

But Broadway is not for everyone. And that group includes me.

There’s just so many ways I’d rather spend my day than seeing a Broadway show. And that includes lying on my bed watching reruns of The Voice. From two seasons ago.

Especially for that price. It costs an arm and a leg to see a show, and if I’m going to spend big bucks to watch anything live, it’ll be a concert or a baseball game. Or an underground cockfighting tournament.

I’ve lived a mere 20 miles from New York City my entire life, and I’ve seen one Broadway show. And that was last year when I saw Larry David’s most recent work — “A Fish in the Dark.”

And I actually liked it. And yet, I still have no desire to see a Broadway show again. It’s just not for me.

So I feel the absolutely bare minimum amount of envy a human being could actually feel when someone they know shows off the fact that they are seeing the new hit musical, “Hamilton.”


Most of you have probably heard of it by now. It reached peak popularity after it was highlighted on the most recent Grammy broadcast in February. And now it’s sold out until January 2017.

The show has also seeped its way into pop culture, which is not really common for Broadway, a dramatic art form that usually lives in its own bubble. Since late last year, it was referenced on Saturday Night Live; featured on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; and one of its actors was even part of a skit this weekend with Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that brought a little controversy for the front-running Democratic presidential candidate.

While Hamilton’s music, lyrics, costumes and set design have been praised to the sky, what’s really made it unique is its concept: a story of America’s founding fathers, played by actors of color.

I think it’s great that it’s promoting diversity, and at the same time, showing that all stories are defined by humanity, and not race … but … I still don’t care.

If I’m not going to care about other popular plays, like Wicked, or If/Then, or anything else that stars Idina Menzel, then I can’t force myself to care about Hamilton just because there’s a bunch of minorities in it.

And that’s coming from an uber liberal. But in this case, my animosity for Broadway supersedes my love for equality.

So let me just do everyone a favor and save time for everyone who wants to post a selfie of themselves at Hamilton.

We get it. You’re amazing. You’re cultured. You have money. You value the arts. And now you get to comment on everybody else’s Hamilton selfie by saying, “It’s so good! We saw it too!”

Now, instead of that selfie, you can post about something else on Facebook. Like your political views.

What have I done.