When our across-the-street neighbors filled their front yard with ‘Blue Lives Matter’ flags and one-sided Trump banners aimed across the street, we decided we wouldn’t ask their adolescent boys to tend our plants in our absence. These neighbors, I’ll call them Kim and Mark, have been our friends for a decade. That relationship has survived by an absence of any political conversation since we all knew we stood on opposite sides of the street.
Kim and Morgan apparently took offense at our asking another neighbor to water the flowers instead of their sons. They have signaled their sentiment by ceasing even a semblance of communication. Not so much as a wave or a grin has floated across the street since September.
This section of West State Street is polarized. It might as well be the DMZ at Korea’s 38th parallel; no loud speakers though, it is a wall of silence, an impenetrable barrier from both sides. Since neither Jane nor I can imagine how anyone with even a modicum of intelligence or a smattering of morality can be supportive of a Trump second term, we do not intend to attempt to re-establish any fellowship.
Ours is a microcosm of the alienation that plagues our country. Combine this political chasm with a COVID-19 pandemic and isolation is as confining and claustrophobic as I can imagine contemporary life can be. I would guess that, except perhaps in border States, our Civil War did not cause such a reign of rancor between neighbors.
Has the social fabric of our nation been so ripped apart that it cannot likely be mended soon? Having been born under FDR in 1940, I do not have all that long to ponder that question. I fear though, that it shall take a newer deal than any proposed to patch the fabric. Have you even a thimble full of hope?