KLAVAN: Hooray For Hamilton, Hooray For Assimilation

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Colin Kaepernick tweeted: “We [meaning black people] reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all.”

On Monday, Disney announced that it had signed a commitment to develop content with Kaepernick, which would include potential shows on Hulu, movies with Pixar, and an ESPN docuseries about Kaepernick’s career.

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the New York Times race hustler-slash-reporter who engineered the dishonest 1619 Project, which falsely claims the United States was founded on principles of slavery and racism. She says she’d be “honored” to have the recent riots and looting called the “1619 Riots.”

Now Oprah Winfrey and movie studio Lions Gate are partnering with Hannah-Jones to transform 1619 “into an expansive portfolio of films, television series and documentaries, unscripted programming and other forms of entertainment,” according to the industry website Deadline.

But so what? Conservatives have “God is Not Dead 16: This Time God is Really Not Dead,” with even more smiling piety than the last sequel, and absolutely no cussing or sex for two hours or until the audience dies of self-satisfaction, whichever comes first.

And we have Ayn Rand. In fact, those on the Right who believe in the philosophy of Ayn Rand should be delighted for Kaepernick and Hannah-Jones. They’re living the Randian dream: making big money through their creations with no regard for the objections of the little people who believe in things like moral truth.

Those conservatives, on the other hand, who have misgivings about ignorant creeps burning down our cities, might ask themselves if maybe value-free capitalism and reality-free Christianity are not a winning cultural strategy for the Right. Because, if the rioting 1619 creeps are a product of sixty years of leftist propaganda, just think what the country will look like twenty years from now when Colin and Nikole get through with it.

But there’s a different message out there: “Hamilton,” the Tony-winning Broadway hip-hop musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

“Hamilton” is spectacularly good. I hate hip-hop music, but Miranda is a superb lyricist with a real understanding of the American musical stage. The show is historically accurate (for a musical). It has brilliantly etched characterizations. And it includes two numbers — Helpless and Unimaginable — which are as good as anything I’ve seen onstage, and I’ve seen everything.

“Hamilton” is also the anti-1619. It not only portrays the founding fathers as people of color singing songs in traditionally black genres like hip-hop and R & B, it shows them as young, scrappy black men ready to seize the historical moment and take their shot at greatness.

In other words, Miranda, of Puerto Rican descent, is saying that U.S. history is his history too. When you become an American, you inherit it.

I know how he feels. A Jewish kid growing up in the sixties, I was twelve before I realized I wasn’t descended from Ben Franklin and George Washington. My teachers called them our forefathers, so I figured I was part of the family.

That’s called assimilation: you adopt a grand history of ideas as a dominant over-structure to the history of your particular tribe. As an American, you become the idea-descendant of the Founding Fathers.

“Hamilton,” then, is the opposite of 1619. 1619 says America is inherently, unchangeably antithetical to people of color. “Hamilton” says, no, we can join in the greatness too. The Left hates this. They tell us that assimilation is a racist code word. Why should we adopt the ideas of dead white males, they ask, even as they are turning on a light bulb or driving a car or using a computer, which are also the ideas of dead white males.

In fact, assimilation is the opposite of racism — that’s why the racist Left hates it. Assimilation is adopting the best ideas no matter who thought of them. Assimilation says freedom is good, and if the British and their colonists figured out how to bottle it, pass the bottle. It’s my bottle now too.

Conversely, the Left says: if whites discovered fire, we’ll sit in the dark.

Assimilation was not always open to blacks, but it is now, and many of them know it. You can tell they know it because it also inspired another popular cultural work, “Get Out,” a horror movie in which a black man about to marry into a WASP family discovers that blacks who assimilate have their souls stolen.

I’m familiar with that fear too. When I discovered I believed in Jesus Christ, I had to ask myself: Is this faith, or just another stage in the process of assimilation? I had to think hard before I was certain I was acting from my authentic self.

We need more “Hamiltons,” a lot more. We need more conservatives who recognize what “Hamilton” is. We need more real talk from conservatives about assimilation: its beauty — the fact that it elevates you above tribe into a community of great ideas — and its difficulties — the fact that it inevitably draws you away from your blood ancestry and culture.

Instead we waffle between aesthetic garbage like Ayn Rand and “God is Not Dead.” We allow Colin Kaepernick and Nikole Hannah-Jones to spew their racist hatred into the cultural atmosphere unchecked.

We have a tough election coming up. We may well lose in November. But if we lose the fight for the culture, we’ll lose everything forever.

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