Hamilton: After a week of fighting, a young man in a red coat stands on a parapet.
Lafayette: We lower our guns as he frantically waves a white handkerchief.
Mulligan: And just like that, it’s over. We tend to our wounded, we count our dead.
Laurens: Black and white soldiers wonder alike if this really means freedom.
Washington: Not yet.
I was about two years late to Hamilton-mania. The musical came out the same season as Waitress (which I’ve written about before) so I stubbornly refused to listen to the music, participate in conversations, or support in any way the show that won all of the awards I wanted my show to win. I remember wishing that it had come out a year earlier or later so that Sara Barellies and Waitress could get more time in the spotlight. This experience might be the closest I’ve ever been to understanding football fans who get so possessive over their teams and devoted to the victory of men they have never met. (Side note: Since I used to live Pennsylvania, I am contractually obligated to now say GO STEELERS!).
The first time I listened to the soundtrack, I was spending a few hours making copies for my job. Since that wasn’t the most mentally tasking job in the world, I got to really appreciate the music coming through the earbud wires. And to wonder why I had been stubborn for so long in my refusal. I still wish Waitress had won more awards, but holy wow Hamilton can have all my money.
The Hamilton Mixtape is a big part of my running playlist, especially “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” and “Wrote My Way Out.” My favorite passage from “Immigrants” is also part of “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)“:
And just like that it’s over, we tend to our wounded, we count our dead
Black and white soldiers wonder alike if this really means freedom
So much of life is “Not yet.” What I love about the line is the balanced hope and realism that the battle has not been won, but it will be. It just takes time.
The photo starting this post reflects my big “Not yet.” This nearly foot-tall stack of articles were all printed, read, reviewed, highlighted, scribbled on, marked up, and written about in my (currently) 257 page dissertation. I took the photograph to commemorate that my project was approved by my committee and the APA editor, which means next step is the librarian. It took two trips to get the whole stack to the recycling bin. The 63 books purchased for the project are staying put and will one day decorate an office shelf as context framing my work.
The Ph.D. battle is over. The defense has been approved. I count my pages and recycle the notes. My friends and I wonder if this my “Doctor.”