Sunday, July 3
I guess you could call this the official reunion day. After a huge brunch at our cousin Rick and Karen’s condo, everyone went their separate ways, walking down the hill to the historic center of Santa Fe with all the museums and galleries, milling around with locals and tourists, who are here for the July Fourth weekend. Having been to Santa Fe several times, I used the time to get the blog up to date. Around five o’clock folks meandered back up the hill, exhausted but in good spirits. The sons, Erik and Rich, both now in their forties, were responsible for grilling hamburgers on the back porch overlooking the city. By seven o’clock there was more food on the table than anyone could eat, with Karen filling in with salads and casseroles. After dinner all eighteen of us walked across the street to the suite where Erik and Michelle are staying with their three youngsters. Erik is a professional documentary film editor living in L.A. and he showed a 15 minute video he had made honoring Dash, his grandmother. The video used the PBS Story Corps format with Dash talking about her life of 98 years illustrated with photos and film clips. It was extraordinary (as you would expect from a seasoned professional), about an extraordinary woman who continues to be an inspiration to all of us gathered for the reunion and my guess is to a lot of others as well.
During the course of the evening I managed to have brief conversations with several of the cousins regarding politics and religion, sometimes taboo topics, especially at family reunions when there are differences of opinion. I guess you could say that I could not help myself. I was relieved that no avid Trump supporters were among us, but I was aware that some of the cousins have world views which are in fact different from my own. One cousin is an evangelical Christian, whose faith is profoundly important to him and another is a devoted conservative, who under no circumstances would ever vote for Hillary (which this year will probably mean not voting at all).
What came through for me was this: no one has an exclusive claim on the truth, and just because you don’t happen to view the world in the same way does not mean those who disagree with you are inferior in any respect. The cousins with differing political and religious views are people who have solid values. They are loving and kind and want to do the right thing. They are good people. They are family. They are friends.
Living in a bubble in Washington where practically everyone we know is a secular liberal (even many who attend church regularly), it is too easy to embrace an us versus them attitude. Because of our education and our various “achievements,” it is all too easy for us urbanites to think that we are better, more enlightened, and intellectually superior. One of the things that I am reminded of as we cross this great nation of ours is that this is not the case. Good people can and do have different takes on life.
And as Embry pointed out, friendship and family “trump” politics every time.