We live in a very red neighborhood in North Carolina that we just moved into this summer. As campaign season intesified, I couldn't help but notice all the old "W" stickers on my neighbors' cars, and the McCain/Palin signs are ubiquitous. In fact, there was only one other house on our street besides ours that had any Obama yards signs up... until ours was vandalized by one of the neighbors. What surprised me, and may surprise you, was the response of our other neighbors.
My wife and kids were driving home Monday night, when they noticed someone standing in our driveway. As they turned to pull in, they saw it was one of our neighbors from down the street, who ran quickly with his dogs across our lawn and into the woods. That was when my wife noticed that our Obama '08 yard signs, which were right where he had been standing, had been pulled down and torn up. My daughter, who is 5, was especially upset since she was proud to have some of the only Obama signs on the street.
Well, my wife immediately made up a hand-lettered sign to replace the destroyed ones. It stated that we were going to buy another one with the money helping Obama's campaign (thanks to whoever came up with that idea by the way), and described the neighbor who had done it and asked if anybody knew who he was (he was walking a couple of pretty distinctive little fluffy white dogs).
First thing that happened, our next-door neighbors (big McCain/Palin supporters, many yard signs) came by and expressed their outrage over what had happened. They said that everyone has a right to support the candidate they want, and when we got our new sign they'd keep their eyes open to make sure no one bothered it. Well, they are a very nice older couple, so I wasn't at all surprised by this, but it made us feel good all the same.
Here's where it gets kind of shocking. Next thing we know, on Wednesday, somebody is knocking on our front door. My son answered, and it was a couple of neighbors we didn't know. They introduced themselves and said they lived down the street. They explained that were Republicans, but they had gotten so upset about what had happened that they went down to Obama headquarters and bought us a new sign. That's right, they knowingly contributed money to Obama, and they explained that they wanted to make sure we knew that not all McCain supporters are jerks or thugs.
Finally, on Thursday, the guy who had vandalized our signs came and apologized, sort of. He asked us if we could take down the sign describing the damage since, although "he wasn't the guy" who had torn the signs down (he was, by the way), his neighbors thought the description matched him and were giving him a hard time about it. He said he was sorry it had happened, and he'd keep an eye on our signs when he was out walking his little fluffy white dogs. I figure that's a pretty fair apology from somebody crass enough to vandalize someone else's property, so I thanked him and took down the extra sign.
So, now we have our yard sign back. We have a safer situation for the sign, since we're surrounded by people who are keeping an eye on it. We have a lot of respect for our neighbors, who are very decent people willing to do something about bullying and harassment. And I have remembered that, even though I strongly disagree with the political philosophies of my neighbors, they are mostly good people. Sometimes I forget that when I'm all wrapped up in the latest Republican outrage, but I'll try to remember that the hate-filled right-wingers we hear about in the news and on the blogs are exceptions to the rule. At least they are in my neighborhood.