On the way to the grocery store, there are two houses, side by side, identical, modest salt-boxes with real front porches and shuttered windows and steeply pitched roofs, built circa 1920, close together on small lots, with barely more than a driveway’s width between them. If the two families sit on on their porches at night in the summers, they could practically pass glasses of lemonade back and forth without anyone having to stretch to reach. I wonder, though, if that ever happens, because there’s this:
The house on the right, as you face in from the street, flies an Obama “HOPE” flag most of the year. The owners of the house on the left---and the mixed up left/right arrangement mildly amuses me---are, judging by the bumper stickers on their cars, almost certainly Right Wingers of the Tea Party persuasion, Fox News viewers, and 9/11 fetishists of the kind you can pretty safely bet knew nobody in the towers or on any of the planes. Recently, they started flying their own flag, a yellow Don’t Tread On Me one.
Today, however, when I drove by I noticed that if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t be able to tell which was which at first glance. Both houses are decorated from porch rail to attic gable with lights, wreaths, garlands, and candles in the windows.
It’s possible that the neighbors get along, that they’re even friends, that they regard their dueling political symbols as a sort of joke between them. But I can’t help feeling that the people in the house on the left have been nodding along knowingly with O’Reilly when he rants about the Left’s War on Christmas and in conversations with like-minded friends and relations work themselves up into a rage over liberals out to do away with religion. If they remember their neighbors, they’ve probably convinced themselves that the folks next door are the exceptions who prove the rule.
There is of course no left wing war on Christmas. There is, however, a Right Wing war on neighborliness and fellow-feeling, which, if you look at it from the proper point of view, which is from inside the stable, amounts to a war on Christmas all year round.