A columnist named Virginia is facing a dilemma. She lives in Brooklyn Heights and doesn’t know what to make of her neighbor who recently plowed her driveway without being asked. The neighbors are what she calls “Trumpites,” and she is a Harvard-educated liberal journalist.
Rod Dreher writes about this because normal people don’t have a problem with such an act of kindness, no matter who provides it. She, on the other hand, says it is “kind of weird. Back in the city, people don’t sweep other people’s walkways for nothing.”
Then she wondered if the neighbors heard Senator Ben Sasse suggest we clean another neighbor’s walk. That’s it. They were probably trying “to make a bid for reconciliation” she concluded. But she added they “probably aren’t looking for absolution anyway.”
Rod Dreher observed: “Let me tell you something, Virginia: your neighbors probably have no idea who Ben Sasse is, and aren’t looking to reconcile with you, much less receive your absolution. They just wanted to do something nice for you, because you are their neighbor, and that’s what neighbors do for each other. The fact that you assume there must be some politically aware motive behind the action says a lot about you.”
He tries to explain to her that most people in America will do nice things for friends and neighbors without stopping to ask about their politics. In a small town, “the guy you’ll need to call to saw up the tree that fell across your driveway might have MAGA and NRA stickers on his truck. He might also do it for you for free, because he knows you’ve been sick and have medical bills.”
It is a sad commentary that Virginia, and so many other liberals like her, failed the snowplow test. They can’t set aside their politics and their suspicion. Plowing snow, raking leaves, mowing lawns for others. That’s what neighbors do.