It was a day of contrasts. The morning began with the horrific news of “the worst act of terrorism on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001, and the deadliest attack on a gay target in the nation’s history...” The evening was marked by the incredible success of Hamilton at the Tony’s, a Broadway musical known for its inclusion of hip-hop and a largely nonwhite cast. It’s hard to reconcile a nation that is capable of such astounding displays of violence and imagination. That we possess in us an impulse to destroy and to create continues to confound me.
I am deeply saddened for the victims and families in Orlando, for the gay community that wonders how to move forward in a fear-inducing climate, and for the Islamic community which now wrongly bears the shame and guilt of the attacker. It is a tragedy, as in a disastrous event which resulted in a loss of life (both for the dead and for the living who now fear for their safety), and also a tragedy as in a genre of art (the human ability to transform, through our imaginations, tragic events into works of art). It is this impulse, the impulse to seek healing by transforming a tragedy into a work of art, which I find most extraordinary about the human spirit.
“Love cannot be killed or swept aside,” said Lin-Manuel Miranda, the author and star of the Broadway musical Hamilton, while accepting the Tony for best score. Which is why we continue to seek after that which we love, namely that which we create through our imaginations. Because in doing so we bring healing to ourselves and to the world.