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Donald Trump Doesn't Know the Meaning of 'Harassed'

Donald Trump Doesn't Know the Meaning of 'Harassed'

Protester outside of Hamilton
Protester waits for Mike Pence outside of Hamilton.

Even on Broadway, standing up for your rights isn't harassment, it's the American way.

Our president-elect is taking a stand against harassment. He finally heard one of the stories we've all heard and immediately tweeted today, "This should not happen!"

But Donald Trump wasn't talking about any of the 701 people, probably all minorities, who the Southern Poverty Law Center reports have been physically or verbally attacked since Trump won the election.

No, Trump was talking about poor, defenseless Mike Pence. The vice president-elect and current governor of Indiana was booed on Friday when arriving at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway to see a performance of Hamilton. It must have truly scarred him.

"Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing," our president-elect tweeted. "This should not happen!"

Trump is just mocking us now, right? People really have been attacked. They're sincerely worried about their safety Yet, Trump is calling for safe spaces and civility for Mike Pence.

"The Theater must always be a safe and special place," he followed up in a second tweet. "The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!"

Let's review this twisted version of what happened. Actually, actor Brandon Victor Dixon announced during the curtain call, "We have a guest in the audience." Some wanted to boo, but he cut them off. "There is nothing to boo here, there is nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen. We are all here sharing a story of love."

It looked like Pence was headed toward the exits, so Dixon asked politely, "I hope you will hear us out." Here's how Victor's allegedly unjust harassment began in a prepared statement: "Vice president-elect Pence, we welcome you," he read vibrantly, "and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton, An American Musical."

Oh, no! Apologize! How dare this black man speak to the vice president!

"We, sir -- we -- are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir," he said. And yes, he called him sir.

"We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us." And then he thanked Pence again for coming.

Try telling Chuck Redding that Pence deserves an apology. Redding is a 75-year-old gay man from my hometown of Sarasota, Fla. He was followed to his house by a Trump supporter who yanked him from his car, then began beating him and shouting, "You know my new president says we can kill all you faggots now," until a neighbor saw what was happening and chased the attacker away.

Amber Timmons found "Tranny die" spray painted on her car door and "Trump" on the hood. It was the third vehicle spray-painted in a week, according to Denver police. Kara Stevens, a black woman in Oregon, had a brick thrown at her by a trio of Trump supporters who threatened to rape her. Someone taped "Colored" and "Whites Only" signs above a water fountain in a Florida school, trying to target many more than one person.

These are the people who the cast of Hamilton spoke for on Friday night. The theater isn't a safe space for politicians. Just the opposite. The theater and all art is a voice for resistance. Art will counter the corruption of our culture, which is being hijacked by President Trump.

This is a man who will tap his deepest white outrage at even the slightest call to help minority people. He sees Americans rallying in the streets and calls it "Very unfair!" He wants the country to turn against us, not come together.

It's time to wake up. We are two months away from the incoming presidency of a wannabe dictator. Every day we waste pretending that Donald J. Trump might have it in him to become a regular president is time squandered defending our rights.

Trump is redefining the greatest of American traditions -- protest and discourse about what's best for us. What will he call the people who protest at his inauguration? Terrorists?

LUCAS GRINDLEY is editorial director for Here Media. Contact him @lucasgrindley on Twitter or via his page on Facebook. Read his previous columns for The Advocate.

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