We seek in one another the assurance that there is just one correct interpretation of the world, that everything is so simple that anybody can see it unless they're malicious or stupid or willfully ignorant; and we punish one another for proving with our differing conclusions that the truth is not that easy. We think we must suppress dissension to present the unified front we need to gain power over our enemies. But there are pro-life Democrats, pro-choice Christians, feminists who love their families, and conservatives who care about poor people.
The more ardently I see humanity as a glorious abstract that must conform to my ideal of how the world should be, the harder it is for me to love the person on the other side of the picket line who is holding up progress. I can love the downtrodden in the abstract, but as I shivered under the bridge that night with Jorge, I realized that it's harder to love the illegal immigrant with the bottle-slashed face and the body unwashed for weeks, the workers gathering to eat day-old bread and chicken and rice out of foam containers, the crowd of thousands clamoring for bread and fish and healing, the unclean woman hoping to touch the hem of the Savior's robe.
These questions are difficult. The answers are not obvious, and so there should be some pausing, some angst, some honest uncertainty as people struggle to decide the best course of action. But I see none of this in the press releases and reports I read. Instead I see both sides telling us that to be uncertain, to dialogue instead of rail, is to betray the cause.