Mark and Laura* were some of the first neighbors my family met when moved into our home about 20 years ago. On first impression they were nice people and time would prove that judgement right.
They are the best neighbors one can hope for. They are friendly and wave hello whenever we see them. They have many friends and family in town and are regularly involved in community activities. Laura bakes cakes and pies for community fundraisers and has been involved in American Cancer Society projects. The two of them also put on elaborate Halloween events for the young and young at heart in our town. Several times when we had prolonged power outages because of storms, they’ve offered to loan us their spare generator. Mark has a standing offer to loan me any tool I might need for a home improvement project.
In short, Mark and Laura are the ideal neighbors.
For over 20 years the one thing we never saw from them was anything associated with politics.
My neighborhood leans Republican but does have a substantial share of Democrats. Consequently, every election cycle sees yard signs and bumper stickers for local and statewide elections. Even in the primaries.
Mark and Laura have never had a sign in their yard or a bumper sticker on their cars. They don’t seem passionate about politics.
One night in February we ended up in a long conversation with Mark. We talked current events in town, how the neighborhood has changed over the years, and the progress of a town beautification project. It was pleasant small talk but it didn’t seem to be anything of great consequence until Mark segued into politics.
Sure enough, he and Laura are apolitical. They fondly remembered the Clinton era because the economy was doing well and the political climate wasn’t overheated like today. He had no strong feelings about Bush or Obama as neither man got more than a sentence. About Trump, Mark thought that he could have done a better job of speaking to the country. Mark did believe that Trump deserved credit for the economic expansion.
It was getting late and the conversation wound down. We all said good night and went returned to our homes.
It was an illuminating talk because it confirmed my guess that Mark and Laura were go with the flow types who were too busy living their lives to get too worked up about any politician. They seem representative of Americans who may not be registered voters or who are part of the great undecided; people who could be convinced by either side in a campaign.
Then one day I get home and find a Trump 2020 sign in their front yard.
For the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, my remarkably apolitical neighbors put up a sign for a political candidate. The Trump sign has stayed in its spot and was even restored after it was knocked over. They are serious about their support of the president.
I have not had a chance to ask them why they are publicly supporting a politician for the first time since I’ve known them. I suspect that, like many Americans, they have seen President Trump’s successes. What’s more is that during these times of government mandated shutdowns, they have had a chance to look critically at how the Democrats operate. It’s possible they’ve found the Democrats’ programs wanting.
Mark and Laura are not the only people thinking this way this election cycle. Others are displaying yard signs in front of their homes, putting bumper stickers on their cars, and even attending the president’s rallies when he stops nearby. This movement is no doubt favoring President Trump. The question is whether there are enough Marks and Lauras across the country to help him cross the finish line.
*In an effort to protect their privacy I have changed the names of my neighbors. Mark and Laura are not their real names.