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A Nation Engaged: playwright Jon Robin Baitz

Jon Robin Baitz is a Los Angeles-based playwright and screenwriter.
Jon Robin Baitz is a Los Angeles-based playwright and screenwriter.
Jon Robin Baitz

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KPCC and other NPR Member stations are participating in a national conversation called "A Nation Engaged." This week at The Frame, we're asking creators who work in arts and entertainment to weigh in on our nation's state of affairs. 

We start with the playwright and screenwriter Jon Robin Baitz. He wrote the 2015 film, "Stonewall," and is currently on the faculty at The School of Drama at The New School. Baitz’s new play, “Vicuña,” opens Oct. 30 at the Kirk Douglas Theater. The satire focuses on a blustering real estate tycoon and reality television star who’s also a presidential candidate.

Here are the questions we posed to Baitz:

What does it mean to be an American?

I think it means to be part of a dialogue and to question it, to question your place in the culture and to divest yourself of all of the easy assumptions and to look at the ways in which your privilege impacts the world around you and others.  

What could the next President do to advance your vision?

I would hope taking care of the weakest — taking in refugees, taking in people from places that are very, very dangerous, giving people the opportunity to start a life here. There should not be starvation in America. There should not be kids going hungry in America. I think that we need a compassionate, strong president to concentrate on those issues. All issues of equality make for a better citizenry. All issues of education and health care. I believe those are really sacred American principles.

Series: A Nation Engaged

America is changing. The crosscurrents of demographic and cultural change are upending traditional voting patterns and altering the face of the American political parties in significant ways. As part of our collaborative project with NPR called "A Nation Engaged," this week we're asking: What does it mean to you to be an American?

Read more in this series and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on Facebook.

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