Reading Twitter updates from Topeka while humming tunes from the Broadway soundtrack of “Hamilton,” it didn’t take long for Joyce Rosenberg to connect the two and coin a new hashtag: #ham4ksleg.
“It seemed obvious to me,” said Rosenberg, a law school professor and Shawnee mother of three who tweets under the handle @Miz_Rosenberg.
“Just something a little fun amid all the craziness.”
Shortly after state lawmakers gathered Thursday for a special session on school funding, Rosenberg and other “Hamilton” fans began tweeting references to the Revolutionary War-era musical, as well as lyrics slightly altered to reflect the political drama unfolding in Topeka.
Inspired by the musical’s “Ten Duel Commandments,” for instance, Rosenberg wrote “Ten School Commandments” and tweeted them out one by one, offering apologies to “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda:
“No. 1! The challenge: Demand satisfaction. If they fund fairly, no need for further action,” Rosenberg tweeted.
The #ham4ksleg movement got a boost Friday morning after a lawmaker – Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park – added the hashtag and musical-note emojis to her tweet about a thus-far-unsuccessful equity fix from Rep. Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe.
“You don’t have the votes, you don’t have the votes,” Clayton tweeted, a line from the musical’s “Cabinet Battle 1.”
Throughout the day, more Twitter users embraced the hashtag, tweeting lyrics, links and references to the Tony Award-winning musical.
Rosenberg said she and her three sons, students in the Shawnee Mission school district, have been listening to the “Hamilton” soundtrack “pretty much constantly” since April.
“I love the history. It is so patriotic, and the love for the United States and its origins and the principles of the Revolution just comes through,” she said.
Besides featuring “some of the best music I have ever heard,” the musical – based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton – inspired Rosenberg’s oldest son to look up and learn about the Federalist Papers and other pieces of American history, she said.
That same son, Josh, a sophomore at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, is following the school finance debate and “is old enough to be concerned about his future,” Rosenberg said.
“He’s on the debate team, and he wonders if there’ll be a season if school doesn’t open on time,” she said.
Rosenberg said “Hamilton”-inspired tweets on the state’s school funding crisis helped lighten up an otherwise stressful time for many following the developments in Topeka.
“It’s a little bit of dark humor,” she said. “People feel very concerned, and this is a little bit of levity. It’s a little bit of brightness to what everybody knows is a very serious situation.”