I complain a lot about my family and how they're a bunch of wacky religious fundamentalists, but really they're great people to hang out with. Yesterday I went out with my two little sisters and my mother and my sisters' friend to the Puyallup Fair, which is the biggest fair in Washington state and is apparently an annual outing for my family. Its a sign of how far away from them I've been the last several years that I didn't even know that my mother takes my siblings to the fair every year. Anyway, we went, and now I'm totally exhausted from walking around for five hours and eating too much cotton candy. I got some neat pictures.
There were cows
and more goats
and cuddly piglets
and I got a cane that folds out into a chair, about which I am very excited, and which is the reason I am able to function today and am not stuck in bed writhing about in pain.
This is my sister modeling the cane. She has homeschooled her entire life, is pro-life and goes to church a couple times a week. She is brilliant: she's 17, and will be getting her AA degree from the local community college in two quarters. Once she does that, she wants to go on a Mission Year, because she believes in service. As you can see, she has dreadlocks and a snappy attitude. What you can't see is that she plays the piano and the harp, paints and tutors a kid in math three times a week, reads science fiction and listens to obscure folk music while she bakes cookies just because she wants to. She really is one of my favorite people.
I forget, sometimes, that the people with whom I find myself disagreeing, on issues as important as the definition of truth, are real people. They are complex, with motivations I may not currently understand but would probably find sympathetic. They create beautiful things and mean well for the world and love and are loved. They may be ordinary, or be extraordinarily talented and brilliant and wrong about some things but not about everything.
Its easier to oppose caricatures, or at least, its easier to be angry with an enemy that is mad, unreasonable, greedy and evil. In a country as big as the US, it gets much easier to keep these caricatures close to our hearts, because with so many people around there is always a way to find the people who think like you do and shut out those who disagree. This is a false way of seeing the world, though. No one is actually a caricature, and in the long run holding on to an untruthful vision of the enemy contributes as much to the divisions between people as the actual differences of opinion do. I know my own enlightenment in this respect isn't going to change the state of society- I wonder if anything can change things, when a society is this big- but I try to remember it anyway.