At last year’s Supernatural Convention in New Jersey, Mark Sheppard—all attitude and Crowley voice—used part of his second panel to lecture us on what it means to be an American. He had just gotten his U.S. citizenship. Like, five minutes ago. That didn’t stop him from listing and explaining our duties and responsibilities when it comes to voting and taking part in the political process.
And that was awesome. I sometimes think immigrants are the ones who really ‘get’ America, in the same way that converts to a religion sometimes understand more about it than the people born into it. When you’re not born to something, when you discover it for yourself instead and work to make it a part of you, you don’t take it for granted.
I think that’s why I try to feature immigrants in my stories. Well, that’s part of the reason. The other part is that I’m from a town with a heavy immigrant population. I was born here, yes, but it would seem bizarre to me to live in a place where everyone was. So I don’t want my story worlds to feature only people from the same background.
Anyway, everything Mark Sheppard said was spot on. Just as Lin Manuel Miranda is spot on as he weaves the importance of immigrants into the narrative of Hamilton. I think that’s one of the fundamental truths implied in Hamilton: that immigrants help keep our country “young, scrappy and hungry.”
(Just one. There are so many truths in this play: about race, about how hip-hop and rap are a new form of the same energy that inspired the American Revolution . . . okay, I’ll stop. Better writers than me have gone on and on about this stuff.)
There’s no better time to celebrate our immigrants than the Fourth of July. So if you haven’t listened to the Hamilton soundtrack yet—none of us can get tickets to the Broadway show—don’t wait any longer! Splurge on it, borrow it from a friend, download it with your Prime subscription. Whatever you need to do. It’s as good and as game-changing as everyone says.
And it gives our immigrants the credit they deserve.