The end of the Pledge was meant to be all good fun, I suppose, except for the fact that it reflects an uncomfortable truth: As much as my neighbors on Hobart Street speak to the values of diversity and tolerance, they have no real interest in viewpoint diversity. I have tried, episodically and unsystematically, to find a Republican on Hobart Street. They must be there: our precinct is 94 percent Democratic, an astonishing number on its face, but that must mean there is still that 6 percent somewhere. It’s simple to find Democrats: Bernie banners? Yes. Hillary bumper stickers? Sure. Black Lives Matter yard signs? Plenty of them. An “Everybody SUCKS, We’re Screwed 2016” sign that pops up right after the election? You bet. But evidence of support for Bush, Kasich, Cruz, Carson, or Trump? No, no, no, no, and hell no.
Truth be told, in its political homogeneity, Hobart Street is not all that unusual. During the 2016 election, the Washington Post asked Virginia voters whether they had any family members or close friends who were supporting the opposing candidate. Fifty-four percent of Trump supporters and 60 percent of Clinton supporters reported that they had no family members and no close friends who were planning to vote for the other side. It is an extraordinary thing, if you think about it for a moment. Virginia was a closely contested state, swinging back and forth on election night, ultimately going to Hillary Clinton by just five points. But somehow a majority of Virginians had managed to arrange their friends and family to be entirely politically compatible. Amazing as it is, I must confess that it was the same for me as well, but at least I have the excuse of living in a single-party neighborhood.