The Rand Paul Attack Was All About…Yard Maintenance

Bill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA

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Why did Sen. Rand Paul’s neighbor attack him early last month? Washington Post reporter Justin Jouvenal persuaded Jim Skaggs to give him a tour of the gated neighborhood where it happened, and thinks he has the answer:

They might have sparred over health care or taxes, but an acquaintance of both said they stood in their yards roughly a decade ago shouting at each other over the grass clippings Paul’s mower had shot on Rene Boucher’s property. “ ‘I ask him, I tell him and he won’t pay attention,’ ” the acquaintance, Bill Goodwin, recalls Boucher saying after the argument. “ ‘One of these days.’ ”

….Skaggs said Boucher was exacting about the standards for his yard — landscaping bags filled with waste were a common site on his property. Neighbors said Paul had a reputation for a more relaxed style that some felt didn’t always jibe with a community that features gas lamps, Greek statuary and a 13-page packet of rules. The senator had a pumpkin patch, compost and unraked leaves beneath some of his trees. Goodwin said it annoyed Boucher that Paul did not consistently cut his grass to the same height, and leaves from Paul’s trees blew on his property.

….[Boucher’s lawyer] said the old tensions over landscaping were triggered on Nov. 3 by a fresh incident he declined to detail.

A friend of mine has a neighbor like Boucher. He vacuums his lawn. He measures the distance between his petunias. He complains when the wind blows leaves into his yard from neighboring trees. He became outraged some years ago when my friend replaced his lawn with native plants, and hasn’t spoken to him since.

This stuff happens. I guess it even happens to famous people.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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