Tony Kushner: “The dreams of the Left are always beautiful”

“Listen, Agnes.
I am working-class.
And that really does make a difference. I know what’s useful,
and what isn’t.
I know the price of things,
and I know how to give things up.
I know what it is to struggle –
these tough little lessons
I dont think you people ever learned.
I hold tight, and I do my work.
I make posters for good causes.
Even if they get torn up, I make them, even though we live in a country
where theory falls silent in the face of fact,
where progress can be reversed overnight,
where the enemy has stolen everything, our own words from us,
I hold tight, and not to my painting . . . not only to that.
Pick any era in history, Agnes.
What is really beautiful about that era?
The way the rich lived?
No.
The way the poor lived?
No.
The dreams of the Left
are always beautiful.
The imagining of better world
the damnation of the present one.
This faith,
this luminescent anger,
these alone
are worthy of being called human.
These are the Beautiful
that an age produces.
As an artist I am struck to the heart
by these dreams. These visions.
We progress. But at great cost.
How can anyone stand to live
without understanding that much?”

-Gotchling, a character in Tony Kushner’s play A Bright Room Called Day, set in the Weimar Republic (Germany) in the 1930s as country falls to fascism. Tony Kushner is the author of Angels in America.