i usually don’t show you guys the requests, but this one’s too good: “Hey, Melanie. Ermm… Lena and I have a gif request… Err… You know, when you have some spare time… that’s the exact moment when Jensen made us lost our collective shit. Could you please gif it for us? :P LOOOOOVEEE YOUUUU! Also, same episode, 23:05 - Lena just said that I should stop replaying it, because she’s suffering (?) from erotic dreams after scenes like that, and then she wakes up with her husband and is all like "meh”.
In the fifth grade, back in 1983, I read a book about politics called “Advise and Consent.” It was a novel by Allen Drury about a Senate confirmation process of a nominee for secretary of state. It was gripping and wonderful, and I was hooked on politics from that day forward.
That fervor lasted until around five years ago, when I came to realize that the vast majority of politicians I knew and had worked with and for (with the very notable exception of Mike Bloomberg) held office solely because their egos demanded constant outside validation and endless attention. There was virtually no issue, no policy, no cause where they’d risk their career to advance something in which they believed.
Once I figured that out, the notion of spending my time helping elect or serve these people was a nonstarter. So I can only imagine how young people interested in politics must feel watching this year’s presidential campaigns.
There may be one antidote though: “Hamilton.”
My 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son are both obsessed with the hit Broadway show. They’ve each seen it, they listen to the soundtrack constantly, the older one is taking a shot at Ron Chernow’s 818-page biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the show, and we’re constantly talking about the decisions Hamilton made and what precipitated each of them.
The one that seems to resonate with them the most is Hamilton’s decision to support Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr in the election of 1800. Despite a career-long disagreement with Jefferson on virtually every issue, Hamilton ultimately gave Jefferson his support, summing up the decision as “Jefferson has beliefs. Burr has none.”
Is one scene in one Broadway show enough to convince a new generation that the point of politics – even the true glory of politics – is to believe in something enough to risk your career, even life, over it? I doubt it.
Even then, real life probably didn’t quite match the show’s idealism. By all accounts, Hamilton wasn’t afraid to fight for his beliefs at any cost. Jefferson’s body of work speaks for itself, but he was, in some ways, still a politician.
But one thing is clear: They believed in more than themselves and their ambitions. And they’d be horrified by the way the system they built has turned out.
So as we complain about the candidates on the ballot this year, rather than just shaking our heads, we should start thinking about how we change the norms that shape politics – and politicians – in the first place. For as long as we’re willing to elect people for whom winning (and keeping) office is mainly about blunting their insecurity rather than achieving a particular policy goal, we’ll keep being faced with awful choices and even worse outcomes.
But if we can start teaching today’s students that Hamilton’s underlying view that the only point of holding office is to achieve something tangible (and not just to get more followers on Twitter), then maybe we can start attracting candidates who care about more than solely fulfilling their own ambitions.
Remember the Cambion? The Antichrist? The crazy, lovely child who may or may not destroy the whole freaking world? A.K.A. Jesse Turner?
WHERE IS HE? WHY HAVE WE NOT HEARD FROM HIM AGAIN? I feel the character has earned at least an on screen death because of how powerful the freaking kid was. I mean, for real, he just whisked his parents away in super evil protective services and we never hear from him again? Really? AM I THE ONLY ONE STILL WORRIED ABOUT THIS KID?
My concerns about raising a mini-royalist appeared to be unfounded, because on day five I set her down at the playground, and she ran right over to another toddler in the sandbox, threw her arms over her head, and sang, “Rise up!” at him, echoing Hamilton’s call to arms in “My Shot.” Then it turned out the other toddler was a little French boy. I didn’t catch his name, but in my head I call him Mini-Lafayette, after Hamilton’s friend and Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette.
I kept an eye on her and Mini-Lafayette, but I made it a point of giving her a wider berth. I still followed her around and watch her, but I followed from about 10 to 15 feet, not one or two as I would have previously. That extra space seemed to give her more opportunity to explore, and she didn’t reach out for assistance as often as she might have otherwise. She fell down on her butt in the sand a couple times, but she seemed to think that’s fun.
When I held out a hand to steady her on the stairs, she took it automatically. But when I didn’t offer it, she figured out the stair on her own. Maybe she took the stairs like a grown-up, or maybe she went backwards, or maybe she just sat and scooted till she reached the ground. Either way, my daughter had realized that when she’s faced with a problem, she’s got to try to solve it herself. And I began to realize that offering a hand to steady her was more about calming my own nerves than hers.
*Days 6 and 7*
Independence and poise and a love of books are all great attributes, but if there is one single parenting lesson to be taken from Hamilton, it is this: No duels. Dueling is part of Hamilton from Act I, but Hamilton’s willingness to ritually shoot at another man over an insult is one character trait I do not want to pass on to my baby. At 49 years old, Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel just three years after his son was killed the same way, and one can only imagine what those two would have been able to accomplish if they hadn’t died so young. Dueling did not work out well for the Hamiltons, and if there’s one parenting lesson to take from Hamilton, it’s that dueling is never the answer.
I want to encourage my daughter to be assertive and stand up for herself, but there’s a world of difference between being a people-pleasing pushover — which is a problem I have — and dueling for one’s honor, which is one area where Hamilton is not a good role model. When one’s child shows up and says they are going to duel, the proper response is not a lesson in honorable dueling, the proper response is: “No, you’re not f*cking dueling, what is wrong with you? You’re grounded.”
This nearly came to a head this week at the park when some 10- or 12-year-old boys took my toddler’s ball and started playing soccer with it. I don’t think they realized it was her ball, and they had a full game going on. I didn’t want to interrupt the soccer game when she wanted it back, but I also didn’t want her to think that she had to give up her toy just because the big boys had taken it. So when she went after the ball, I prepared my “stern adult” face and got ready to scold the boys and tell them they had to give the ball back.
It turns out that wasn’t necessary. As soon as the baby reached for the ball, the boy holding it handed it politely back. They knew it was her ball all along and were just playing with it while she wasn’t using it.
For me, that was a valuable lesson in playground-ball etiquette. Apparently an unattended ball is free to be played with, but must be given back if the original owner wants it. That makes sense to me, and I was very relieved at not having to use my “stern adult” face. It still does not feel natural to me.
‘I Believe the Children Are Our Future’ was one of those episodes where we started with the kills and then came up with a reason,” Kripke reveals. “We started with how we wanted all the lies that parents tell children to come true. That was the notion that [Daniel Loflin and Andrew Dabb] pitched, that Pop Rocks and Coke would cause your stomach to explode, that joy buzzers could kill you, that the Tooth Fairy was real – all of those things. And we wanted to really tell a story about how the way that people lie to children isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and that the motivation behind it is to keep them safe and protected. That was where we started, and then we said, 'What would allow us to have that story within the apocalyptic pantheon [of season 5]?’ We started looking at the Antichrist. We thought it would be a really intriguing notion for us to have an Antichrist who is generally a likable kid that’s making all of these childish things come to life simply because he doesn’t know any better.
Knight, Nicholas, Eric Kripke, and Christopher Cerasi. The Essential Supernatural: On the Road with Sam and Dean Winchester. San Rafael, CA: Insight Editions, 2012: 38-39.