Last night, President Obama bestowed the prestigious (if misunderstood) National Medals of Arts and National Humanities Medals to a rarefied bunch that included two openly gay men, writer Tony Kushner (who wrote the screenplay for the Oscar Award-winning film Lincoln as well as the Angels in America play cycle, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize) and painter Ellsworth Kelly (who celebrates his 90th birthday this year).
The evening's awards recipients also included writers John Didion and Marilynne Robinson, actress Anna Deavere Smith, and writer/director/producer George Lucas.
Kushner is always a man who can write some erudite, profound things, and so, today in his honor, we remember this great quote from Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes:
“I've lived through such terrible times and there are people who live through much worse. But you see them living anyway. When they're more spirit than body, more sores than skin, when they're burned and in agony, when flies lay eggs in the corners of the eyes of their children - they live. Death usually has to take life away. I don't know if that's just the animal. I don't know if it's not braver to die, but I recognize the habit; the addiction to being alive. So we live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that's it, that's the best I can do. It's so much not enough. It's so inadequate. But still bless me anyway. I want more life.”