The new Broadway hit "Hamilton" has been making headlines recently because of its new and exciting take on United States history. Not only is "Hamilton" a great soundtrack, but it teaches valuable lessons that can be applied to politics today. If this were a normal musical, it would be difficult to come up with this many lessons. However, this is "Hamilton," a three-hour history lesson about the revolution, so it was hard to narrow it down to 10. Here are the 10 lessons "Hamilton" taught me about politics:
1. You don't need to be a politician to make an impact.
Nowadays it seems like only a certain type of person can be a politician. However, "Hamilton" shows an inspiring story of an orphan and immigrant, Alexander Hamilton, who joins the revolution simply because he wanted to help his country. He knew what was happening was wrong so he stepped up to help. Just because normal citizens may feel they are not smart enough or rich enough, we have to remember this is our country, and we can make a difference as long as we work hard and persevere.
2. "Talk less..."
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I think everyone can agree we wish politicians would talk less.
3. "...Smile more."
Why aren't politicians more likable? I'm sure there are many reasons for this, but maybe if they all smiled a little more, we might not dislike them so much.
4. "If you stand for nothing, what do you fall for?"
This is probably one of the most important and powerful lines in the show. If we don't have our own opinions and have our own beliefs, then what do we stand for? Changing your opinions because you truly believe it is OK, but it is entirely different if you're just doing it to get ahead. Your beliefs should not be based on what is convenient for you at the time, but instead, you should hold true to them no matter what comes your way.
5. Women can make a difference.
This musical has it all. Not only does it feature the founding fathers rapping, but it also tells the story of one of the first feminists, Angelica Schuyler. Her best line in the whole show, in my opinion, is, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, and when I meet Thomas Jefferson I'm 'a compel him to include women in the sequel." She wasn't intimidated by the possibility of a revolution, and she was never shy about having an intellectual conversation with a man, which was unheard of at that time. Women can be just as influential in politics as men can or — dare I say — even more influential. Angelica would be proud of how far we've come, and she'd probably tell us to keep putting our minds to work!
6. Words are powerful.
Alexander Hamilton didn't take his words lightly, and we shouldn't either. Our words can inspire so many things, so it's important to think before we speak or write because we never know what our words may incite.
7. "History has its eyes on you."
Whether we agree or disagree with the government right now, I think we can all agree our country is making history. We get to decide how we want to be remembered. "I know we can win; I know greatness lies in you. But remember from here on in, history has its eyes on you."
8. Allies are a good thing to have.
If we didn't have the French on our side at the Battle of Yorktown, a completely different outcome could have occurred. However, instead we had the French as our allies, and the United States won our independence, and the rest is history. We can't forget who our allies are, and we also can't turn our backs on them.
9. Compromise is key.
Now I'm not meaning you should compromise on your core beliefs, but I am talking about the kind of compromising our government was built on. If Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson had not compromised on the financial plan, then our treasury system would be completely different, and our nation's capital could still be in New York City. It's really easy for us to get caught up in the way we believe the government should be run, but both sides need to get past the partisanship and start working together. You don't always have to agree with someone to respect their opinion.
10. You might not always like the candidates.
This last lesson, in particular, can really be applied to today. In the election of 1800, Alexander Hamilton had the choice to vote for Thomas Jefferson or Aaron Burr. In other words, he had to pick from a man whose positions he strongly disagreed with or a man he believed had no principles at all. He ended up picking Jefferson because he would rather vote for someone he disagreed with than someone who constantly changed their principles just to get ahead. Hamilton believed he was voting for the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately, for most voters, this is a decision we have to make today. Most people aren't excited about the candidates, but it doesn't mean we can stay home come Election Day this year. We have to make our decision, just like Hamilton, and vote for whom we believe will be the best president.
Hopefully these lessons from "Hamilton" can help us as we deal with a tough time in politics right now. We can always learn from history, even if the history lesson is a retelling of the American revolution through rap music. Just remember, the most important thing we can do is stay just like our country: young, scrappy and hungry.