...out on the porch, shall we?
Did you know that 65% of new homes in the U.S. are now built with front porches? That's up from 42% a quarter-century ago. The front porch, as The Wall Street Journal highlighted this weekend, is making a comeback.
I'm happily part of this trend. While few of the houses on my block have front porches, owing to the era in which they were built, ours is an exception. This came in super handy a few months ago when our street lost power for five days (I think Isaias was the storm?). Our generator sprang into action, and soon our front porch was powering laptops, cell phones, and video game consoles for the whole neighborhood. One neighbor joked she should bring a coffee pot. I wished she had!
And there's nothing better than taking the kids out there and having people swing by to chat in the afternoons. Certainly takes the sting out of "witching hour." And the social implications run deep, as Richard H. Thomas observed in his 1975 essay, "From Porch to Patio." The porch was the community, back when it was ubiquitous in American life. In fact, the lack of front porches in the new subdivision George Bailey builds at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life" is emblematic of why Patrick Deneen says Bailey actually "destroys the town that saves him."
The American people, it seems, have come to realize what's been lost. And in a hopeful sign amidst all the doom and gloom out there, the front porch is making a comeback. In reality, and also figuratively, popping up in such ways as Front Porch Republic.
Another hopeful sign? "The News with Shepherd Smith" debuts at 7 p.m. on CNBC tonight. I asked Shep when he came on the show a few weeks ago, in the midst of the market's September swoon, the resurgence of Covid, and the debate over more stimulus from Washington, what he would have led the show with that night. His answer? "Water."
The fact, he said, that the Gulf Coast was flooded once again while the parched West was aflame. It's hardly good news, but it's news coverage that takes a break from the endless D.C. punditry to examine what's really going on across this country.
See you at 1 p.m!
P.S. Click here to listen to The Exchange as a podcast.