In Hamilton – the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical which jammed its toe in the door of history and brought some diversity to the Founding Fathers, the one which Mike Pence was booed at and which gave Barack Obama brief Billboard success with a remix – the eponymous Alexander raps that “just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry”. It’s one of the most well-known phrases from the internationally successful play. You can even get your baby a onesie that has “Young, Scrappy And Hungry” emblazoned on it from the official Hamilton merchandise online store.
Little wonder that that phrase stood out to audiences, especially American audiences: the American Dream is all about being young, scrappy and hungry in a country which owes you nothing but can sell you everything. If you’re scrappy enough and hungry enough, you can get whatever you want: riches, renown, maybe even the presidency. Because this is the land of the free. It’s not an old European throwback with an unelected House of Lords and a parliamentary process that ends with the Queen. It threw tea in the ocean. It struck out on its own. It is the reason why Meghan Markle is helping Harry shake off his shackles while Will and Kate scratch out another year on the wall of their gilded cage.
It all sounds pretty great when you put it that way. But then you remember the pitfalls of being a young country and a lot of it falls down.
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