Roughly 24 hours after we put up a Trump yard sign, it was stolen. And then something remarkable happened.
I wasn’t going to put up a yard sign; I don’t put up yard signs, in general. On the liberal west side of L.A., there is almost no point. The GOP has basically ceased to exist as an electoral force in California.
And as a conservative journalist, even though it is no mystery whom I support in the 2020 election, I tend to keep politics out of my personal life, at least with my neighbors and relatives.
But when I saw the first Biden/Harris signs start to go up, I decided I had to take a stand.
Our community was hurt by the Black Lives Matter riots in late May. The local mall was boarded up and the National Guard was on the street.
In my beloved Santa Monica, where I lived until recently, the downtown area was smashed and looted on live TV. Further east, synagogues were tagged with graffiti.
Joe Biden’s first reaction was to blame police; our own senator, Kamala Harris, joined a protest in D.C.
If, after all that, people were still willing to support the Biden/Harris ticket, I felt I had to take a stand, at least on my lawn.
So I ordered a couple of Trump signs. But when they arrived, I was still uncertain if I should actually post them. “Don’t do that to your kids,” a friend said, warning me that our house could be targeted.
I knew we could not be the only conservative family in the neighborhood; perhaps there were more, in the homes flying American flags. Still, I gave it some thought.
Then, last Friday, I watched the press conference in which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) discussed removing the president from office under the 25th Amendment, and I decided that enough was enough. I didn’t care if it was pointless; I didn’t care if it was dangerous.
I took the yard signs out, placing one on our lawn and mounting one on our fence, where it would be more visible. They looked nice; they seemed almost festive, among the other political signs in the neighborhood.
The next day, while I was at synagogue for — socially distant! — prayers, a car pulled up to the house. A man in a mask got out, walked into our driveway, snatched the sign, and ran back to the vehicle, where his accomplice pulled a U-turn, leaving the wire frame behind, taped to the fence.
When I came home, I was infuriated. The LAPD came by later to take a statement, just for the record. One of the officers, seeing our neighbors’ Biden/Harris signs, joked: “I think we found the culprits.”
I decided to order more signs, on principle.
On a walk around the neighborhood later that day, my wife and I laughed at one of the new Biden/Harris signs: “Unity Not Division.”
The thieves who stole our sign seemed to be from the area. Just a few hours before, I had seriously entertained the idea that people would be tolerant enough to accept the one Trump sign among dozens of Biden/Harris ones. Now, I understood more deeply why Trump supporters might not tell pollsters their true beliefs.
A couple of days later, I was doing some work in the front yard when a woman whom I had seen before, but never spoken to, walked by.
“Did they steal your sign?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
She shook her head.
How odd, I thought.
Then it happened again — and again.
“Four more years!” one woman shouted from her car.
A man called approvingly from his pickup truck: “Get a bigger sign!” Another woman rolled down the window of her SUV: “You’re the only one around here with guts!”
I met more neighbors in half an hour than I had met in nearly a year of living in the neighborhood. It was incredible.
This was the “silent majority” — or, perhaps, a silent minority, but not an insignificant one. We were all living in fear — even of each other! — until one person broke the ice. And it felt good.
Trump could very well lose in a landslide. 2016 could really have been a once-off.
But maybe — just maybe — there are far more of us than we know, ready to shock the world again.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.