Biker in Chief is Not Offended

There's a minor brou-ha-ha over the fact that VP-Elect Mike Pence was addressed by the cast at a performance of Hamilton. They told him that a lot of people were worried by the recent election, especially that the incoming administration wouldn't protect all Americans equally, and expressed hope that he'd found in their show some inspiration to adhere to American ideals.

A lot of people were angry on Pence's behalf, including the President Elect.

Pence himself, who is a biker, was not the least bit put out. In a very classy response, he complimented their show and the cast themselves, urged others to see the show, and said he was not at all offended by their remarks.

He then went on to say "But I want to assure people...."

CBS News cut off the rest of his remarks. I haven't found a longer version of the clip, so I'm not sure what he wanted to assure us of, but my guess is that he went on to say something comforting to those Americans who feel frightened by him or the incoming administration.

That's just a guess, though, because CBS didn't think that part mattered.


What he said was, "I just want to reassure people that what president elect Donald Trump said on election night, he absolutely meant from the bottom of his heart. He is preparing to be the president of all of the people of the United States of America."


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Example #119765 of how they don't really care about reporting the news, only the parts they find advantageous. Or as Dave Burge says "Their job is to cover the news - if necessary, with a pillow until it stops breathing."

E Hines said...

No, AVI, no such thing. Of course CBS News only edited to fit the time slot.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Eric Hines

E Hines said...

Biker in Chief not offended? As I think about this a bit more, maybe so. But it's also likely that he was gentleman enough to, offended or not, simply let the slur roll off his back as not worth the trouble to recognize.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

I don't think that their statement constitutes a slur. What they said was this:

“We, sir, 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 this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.”

Now, if you diagram that first sentence, you realize that the basic meaning comes down to "We... are alarmed and anxious," which is totally and completely true. They are indeed both of those things.

Someone speaking the truth isn't a proper grounds for offense. Whether or not they ought to be afraid, they very clearly are.

The right response, I think, is the one Pence gave. He said some friendly words that would let them know that he appreciated them as artists, and then reassured them that he believes the administration will not do the things that scare them.

douglas said...

I think it's not unreasonable either to see a slur in the unspoken assumptions inherent in that statement- but in today's political environment, I'd give them some credit for being even that civil and considered. Perhaps it's safe to say there's a hidden slur, but the Christian thing to do is to turn the other cheek- that's all that was being asked here and there was much to be gained from it.

E Hines said...

The existence of the statement was a slur, especially coming as it did with and after boos from the audience aimed at VP-elect Pence and with the statement containing nary a demurral against the booing. The actors easily could have added a remark about the audience's disrespect, and they chose not to.

Eric Hines

E Hines said...

Also, there's the larger context in which that statement was made. ...uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.

The only values these players recognize are the identity politic of some groups of Americans to be favored explicitly over others--black lives matter, for instance, but most assuredly not all lives matter--freedom of speech being freedom to speak what the Left will permit to be spoken, freedom to choose what speech will be heard being freedom to accept what speech the Left will permit us to hear. That's not the values of all of us.

These player know this quite clearly.

Eric Hines

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ E Hines - maybe. I was a theater major, and they tend to be front-runners in terms of where they think the culture is going. They have alertly been on the left in many ways for decades, but they hyave willingly put forth things that they estimate a more conservative public will like, and sometimes do it well. 1776. Fiddler On The Roof. Les Miserables. They don't change their politics, until they do, in a flash.

Texan99 said...

Of course it's a slur to tell someone you hope your recent remarks have "inspired" him to be a less horrible person than you are convinced he is. Also unbearably smug. They'd have realized this quick enough if he'd responded by dropping some pearls of widsom and then expressing the hope that his words would inspire them not to be such utter little drips. But his reaction was best.

I love the way CBS chose to cover it; they're interested in re-broadcasting a statement of their own views, but uninterested in reporting on a statement of Pence's. They and their readers already know what he thinks, right? The important thing is the brave protests.

jaed said...

Talking at an audience member from the stage is inherently offensive, I think. (And that's what the cast member was doing.) It's a situation where there is no possibility of reply, or conversation, or argument, because there is no equal footing.

This is particularly the case because other audience members had previously been allowed to boo the audience member in question. There's an adding-insult-to-injury quality about the interaction.

I liked someone's suggested solution: you tell the audience to knock off the booing because it's unmannerly toward their fellow guests. In recompense and apology for their behavior, you invite Pence and his party to dinner with the cast members. You ask for his views and listen honestly to what he has to say. THEN you roll out your canned talking points.

Around a table, on an equal basis, after having apologized for the bad manners of the audience, this is not rude. Doing it from the stage after the man has already been insulted in your house seems to me to be quite rude.

Ymar Sakar said...

Pence could have asked them what freedom they gave the Christians who refused to service homosexual and the Gaystapo.

But that's Trum or rather the ALt Right's job.

douglas said...

You know, I don't know that I'm even against being a little rude to our elected officials, they're not our betters, they're our equals. I just wish it wasn't a double standard- remember 'you lied', or how disrespectful O'Reilly's 2014 pre Super Bowl interview was because it seemed he was lecturing the President?

E Hines said...

You know, I don't know that I'm even against being a little rude to our elected officials, they're not our betters, they're our equals.

I don't like the rudeness (yes, even me) because courtesy matters. They're not our lessers, either, they're our equals. More, they're our employees, and I'm reminded of a remark by (I think) Blackjack Pershing that went something like this:

In any relationship between gentlemen in superior and subordinate positions, the man in the superior position never remembers it, and the man in the subordinate position never forgets it.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

It may sometimes be our duty to be rude to elected officials who are out of line, but I have a hard time imagining that it's ever our duty to hijack the public performance of a play to do so. The same people who can't abide being made to stand quietly and respectfully while others pray at a public event ought not to expect an entire audience to listen while they dress down a politician who happens to be present.

Everyone freaked out when Joe Wilson so far forgot himself as to blurt out "You lie" at a State of the Union address. At least he didn't arrogate to himself the right to make the whole gathering listen to a smug little lecture.

Texan99 said...

I think Jaed had it exactly right.