Back in my home state of Georgia, some folks do this every year. The Master's golf tournament is held in Augusta, and there aren't nearly enough hotel rooms to go around. Augusta residents charge thousands of dollars and take nice vacations with the loot, and everyone is happy.
There was a big difference here, though. The Master's is not a partisan event, but the inauguration of The One?-- decidedly so. And while I realized, of course, that not everyone who planned to attend the events would be leftists (I have former colleagues who attended who are very conservative), I figured that anyone who was willing to shell out thousands of dollars to travel to D.C. and stay in some stranger's house had more than a passing interest in the "change" aspect of the festivities.
Frankly, I didn't want a bunch of Obama-obsessed Democrats staying in my house. Anyone with half a brain who spends more than a few minutes in Casa Petroni will quickly figure out where we stand, politically and religiously. (Of course, the two are inextricably intertwined for us.) From our various crosses and crucifixes to our First Things subscription; from our C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton collections to our Catholic calendar; from our Bibles and Catechism to our copies (multiple!) of After Virtue, we are clearly orthodox Catholics, and clearly to the right on the political spectrum.
Although I was ashamed to admit it at the time, I had visions of hostile houseguests trashing our more conservative books or "accidentally" dropping our Rosaries in the toilet. I knew I was probably being utterly ridiculous, and I'm well aware that the vast, vast majority of people on either side of the political spectrum would never deign to treat anyone's home in such a manner. But still. I just couldn't shake the fear that we'd end up with the wackos.
Today I feel both sad and somewhat vindicated. Apparently a member of the College Democrats at The George Washington University here in D.C. decided that it was appropriate to vandalize crosses that had been used in a pro-life display. (Links to related stories here, here, here, and here.) Although only one College Democrat has taken responsibility for the vandalism, the crosses apparently remained displayed in the College Democrats' office for at least a full day, during which other members somehow didn't see fit to take them down or even question them.
I'm beyond disgusted by this story, but why am I not surprised?
In the end, the inaugural house-rental craze turned into a big bust for most folks, as supply far outpaced demand. Chances are we wouldn't have been able to rent out our house, even if we had listed it. But I'm glad I put my foot down, anyway. And if I ever do rent my house out for some reason, you'd better believe that my screening questions will include the following: Are you now or have you ever been a member of the College Democrats? Sure, it sounds a little McCarthy-ish. But at least I'll know my Rosaries and crucifixes are safe.