I've lived in communities ruthlessly controlled by Homeowners Associations (HOAs) for the past few years . . . and I can't move out soon enough. Their silly rules barring certain color paints, the display of political yard signs, or the presence of trucks with lettering and ladders – ie, blue-collar contractors – are unfair and contradict our nation's greatest intentions and values (yes, I've lived in communities with these rules). In fact, many HOAs barred the flying of flags – yes, including American flags! Congress thankfully intervened on that score.
Today's Washington Post features an article about a man who painted a Hindu religious symbol on his driveway for his son's coming-of-age celebration. The HOA wants him to remove this painting, even though the man's immediate neighbors couldn't care less about the artwork (in fact, it's quite beautiful). Somehow, I doubt that the HOA would be as concerned with a painting of a creche at Christmas time or cross at Good Friday . . .
Either way, I believe that HOA's should be minimalist in their rules and regulations – concerning trash, presence of junk on front lawns, noise levels, etc.. But regulating vehicles, speech (religious or political or any other kind), and paint color is a bit rediculous, and unAmerican, if you ask me.