Let’s face it folks: Alexander Hamilton would never have made it to America in the world we have today.
He immigrated from the Caribbean as a penniless, fatherless child, with no training and minimum schooling. Under Donald Trump he’d never even get to board the ship. Under President Obama he would never have qualified for admission.
I wish Donald Trump could see the tour de force that “Hamilton” is on Broadway, if only to learn how incredible Hamilton was and how he saved the US from bankruptcy among other achievements.
Maybe Trump would look differently on the immigrants he attacks with such abandon if he saw what one man, who arrived here with nothing but terrible prospects, accomplished.
Hamilton would never have made it to the New World today. Then neither would William Ford, father of Henry Ford who force-migrated in 1847 during the Famine with only his carpenter’s tools. Neither would Thomas Fitzgerald or Patrick Kennedy a barrel-maker, both ancestors of of JFK and both who also force-migrated at the same time.
In more modern times, Trump would certainly have blocked Abdul Fattah Jandali, a Syrian refugee from Homs who was fleeing a war in Lebanon in 1954.
He was forced to give a baby up for adoption because his pregnant girlfriend’s father would not let him marry his daughter. The son turned out to be Steve Jobs.
Google was the co-invention of Russian emigre Sergey Brin. It is now one of the largest companies in the world.
A bankrupt America – no massive development of the automobile, no JFK as president, no iPhone or Mac, no Google were it not for these immigrants.
Does that strike home Mr Trump?
I watched the musical “Hamilton” yesterday in New York at a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. I went fearing I would not like it because it was likely overhyped. It wasn’t.
The production itself is among the best I have ever seen. There is a black Jefferson and a black Washington, blacks play slave traders, the world is upside down, but history is right side up. The powerful story of Hamilton’s incredible rise to power makes for great material and “Hamilton” certainly cashes in. Rumor has it the show is making $2 million a week and that’s before the touring shows start up.
The show displays how Hamilton, the penniless immigrant, turned out to be among the greatest of the Founding Fathers – main author of the 'Federalist Papers' which explained the constitution to Americans, the man who saved the fledgling United States from bankruptcy, stood loyal as Washington’s chief Aide De Camp for four years, led a command in the Revolutionary War, and ensured his bitter rival Thomas Jefferson became president for the good of the country. He lived many lifetimes in one before needlessly dying in a duel with his arch-rival Aaron Burr.
We see the British monarch George III, played brilliantly played by Rory O’Malley, not knowing why he was replaced as America’s ruler and laughing at the absurdity of ordinary men ruling themselves. It’s called a Republic someone should have told him.
We see how a small bunch of revolutionaries overthrew a mighty occupying nation and capsized the stars. In a week when Britain also looks likely to witness the breakup of the United Kingdom the lessons of those first seceders from the British empire is stark.
That message is – we can make it on our own. From America to modern day Scotland on the brink of leaving the UK that belief has driven men and women to seek their national freedom as we Irish know only too well.
Hamilton was an incredible man and his achievements just grow larger by the year. He underlines again how important immigration is and what immigrants have brought to America.
The scene that got the largest cheer in "Hamilton" occurs when Lafayette and Hamilton high five each other after both winning battles. “Immigrants get it done again” or words to that effect, they say. America needs to take those words to heart.
Read more: Irish dancer’s amazing homage to Lin-Manuel Miranda's “Hamilton” (VIDEO)