Democracy: What a Meshuga Way to Run a Country -- or HOA

Microcosmic world: Buzz recently received an email from the president of the homeowners association of our condominium, ordering all residents to remove personal property — door wreaths, potted plants, holiday displays, everything — from the building common areas. (There's actually a point to this anecdote. Stay with us.) Some residents had been complaining privately to board members about their neighbors' decorations. Otherwise normal people can get really cranky about things like that, so the board, rather than refereeing countless small battles, decided to make our buildings a decorative desert and call it peace.

But what about our mezuzas? some homeowners asked, referring to the small scrolls of scripture some Jewish people place on their doorposts as a sign of faith. Nope, the prez said. One rule for all! They gotta go.

Hoo-boy. Look, Buzz isn't saying we became physically ... um ... engorged at this point, but it was close. The prospect of gentile board members sending the maintenance guy out with a claw hammer to pry the mezuzas off homes that are within walking distance of two synagogues hit our dark, agnostic news-guy heart like an early Christmas — Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever — present. A really good one, too. Like a pony or something.

Sadly, before a tiny religious war broke out — one Buzz could cover in pajamas — one of the board members figured out that the Texas Legislature this year passed a law that says HOAs can't do anything nearly as dumb and entertaining as order the removal of unobtrusive religious icons from doorways.

Fucking legislators. What buzzkills. As usual, it's no pony for Buzz. This is why we don't believe in God.

Of course, some of the residents are still pissed off about their neighbor's tackiness. "I'm surprised people don't realize that tasteless objects in the common areas are a 'turn off' & devaluate our property," one of the residents wrote in an email. Yeah, those damn, dumb tasteless people and their demands for self-expression that screw it up for the right-thinking folk.

As things stand now, residents from 40 condos will be called together to settle an issue that five HOA board members were unable to settle on their own. That's going to work out great.

We promised you this story would have a point, but we're about out of space, so we'll be brief: deficit super committee, Congress, politics, human nature, uncompromising ideologues. Really, isn't it about time we just call it a day for democracy?

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