The Irony of 'Hamilton' Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's Advocacy For Puerto Rico

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tags: Puerto Rico, Lin Manuel Miranda



Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy and Latin America on his blog. You can follow him on twitter.

As the economic and humanitarian crisis has worsened in Puerto Rico in recent months, playwright and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, has given voice in interviews and Op-Eds to the severity of the crisis among ordinary Puerto Ricans. Miranda called the island's debt crisis a matter of "life and death," saying, "I have a lot of family who are struggling in Puerto Rico, that's not an abstract issue to me." He humanizes what the statistics - $73 billion in debt, $19,500 median household income, 11.5 percent sales tax, 64,000 people leaving per year - can not. Puerto Rico is a debt colony whose function as a political entity is to service its creditors. Ironically, Miranda achieved the celebrity he's now using to advocate for the Puerto Rican people by glorifying and aggrandizing the most ruthless champion of creditors in American history....

Miranda has praised Hamilton and the other "Founders" for their ability to translate a revolutionary vision into a nation that embodied the liberal principles it supposedly stood for. "They did a remarkable thing in sticking the landing from revolution to government. That's the hardest thing to do. You can go across the ocean to France, where they totally fucked it up and then got stuck in a cycle of revolution and tyranny," Miranda told Rolling Stone.

Miranda also praised Hamilton's financial program of creating a national debt by assuming the debts of individual states: "His thinking was, if we are entrenched in each other's finances, we're stuck with each other."

The problem with Miranda's reading of history is that he assumes the liberal notion of a united nation, devoted to the common goals of freedom and equality, was any more real 225 years ago than it is today. Post-revolutionary America was never a utopia where everyone shared financially in the spoils of independence. It was a political association organized along the lines of feudal societies and their stark divisions between creditors and debtors....


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