By now, many of you are familiar with the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.” It tells the behind the scenes story of the creation of the United States. Its original star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, sang about the historic moments when our Constitution came to life.
In one gripping moment, Miranda as Hamilton, sang about being “in the room where it happened.” He was making reference to Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
As fate would have it, a short time ago, I visited that city for a family event. I couldn’t resist the chance to go to Independence Hall to see the room where it happened.
I last visited that historic sight as a student which in my case is decades ago. When I entered the hall where the language of the Constitution was drafted, I felt an emotion that had escaped me as a young tourist.
The room itself is very much a replica of what the famous painters have created on canvas. Most of the furnishings are not the original ones, but the chair where George Washington sat is the original one. As I scanned the room I couldn’t help thinking about what Washington, Hamilton, John Adams, John Jay and James Madison and others would say about the state of our current political system.
There is no doubt that George Washington, a wealthy land surveyor, who became America’s general, would be apoplectic about the current occupant of the White House. Washington wanted this country to be a beacon of hope for the entire world.
He would be highly critical of the fact that our country has become so divided. He had fought mightily to unite the thirteen colonies and win their independence from the tyranny of the British rulers.
The Revolutionary War was fought to free America from the hands of foreign despots. Today’s America has a president who loves dictators, and would no doubt wish he could have the same chokehold over his citizens that Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Philippine’s Rodrigo Duterte and Syria’s Basher al-Assad have over theirs.
At the time the first drafts of the Constitution were being written, Benjamin Franklin was in England and Thomas Jefferson was in France.
Neither would have used their time abroad to seek negative information on George Washington so that they could undermine his presidency. Both men used their time to cultivate a friendship with those two nations who eventually became our strongest allies.
Thirteen of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were merchants who strongly opposed England’s taxes and tariffs on all goods sold to the emerging states. The Boston Tea Party was an event when merchants boarded a ship to dump its tea cargo as a protest against excessive levies.
Many of those signers would be outspoken today about the mindless tariffs that have been put in place by President Trump on a broad variety of consumer goods.
There is no doubt that the 35 signers who were lawyers, would express their resentment over the fact that President Trump has ignored the powers of the Congress, a separate branch of government, and treats them with total disrespect.
The Founding Fathers didn’t risk their lives for a country led by a man who has no respect for the rule of law. A short walk from the delegate’s room is a replica of a 1770s courtroom, which gives you a snapshot of what post Constitution justice looked like. The 2019 members of the court system are subject to continuous presidential harassment.
So, if you are looking for a historical experience, it’s worth traveling to Philadelphia and visiting these hallowed sites. Learn a little about how America gained its freedom from tyranny and what debates took place before our Constitution became the law of the land. That trip will no doubt open your eyes to what America is losing under an undisciplined and uninformed leader of our country.