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For the holidays, I may be turning off Facebook

Date: 12/4/2014

At the start of the holiday season, I’m not just feeling it.

I’m fascinated by the current reactions I see on Facebook. If someone posts something about white on black crime, or an incident revolving around a white police officer and a black person, there is almost an immediate reaction to find some act of violence in which a white person or police officer is the victim. The text accompanying such a post almost always says the “liberal” media isn’t reporting this kind of stories, reflecting its racial bias.

Instead of trying to have a dialogue about race or how some police interact with the public, some people believe a better way to solve the problem is to say, “Hey white people are victims, too.”

That doesn’t solve anything, but I’m becoming more and more convinced there is a growing number of Americans who are more interested in remaining comfortable in their own prejudices than challenging them and progressing as a country.

I would expect that in 1880, but now? We have the means to research news stories and actually think about current events. We have the ability to engage in meaningful conversation, but do we?

I looked at the Facebook remarks that accompanied a posting by the Chicopee Police Department about the Black Friday protest made by people who support the ability for Wal-Mart employees to consider joining a union.

The police posted, “On 11/27/14 at approximately 2 p.m., protestors assembled at the Chicopee Wal-Mart for a demonstration. Officers working the Black Friday Detail as well as day shift patrol stood by to maintain order while protestors marched and spoke with management. The event ended peacefully with no arrests.”

In a way, this is barely a story. There was no conflict. No arrests.

The reactions were overwhelmingly negative. Here are a few. I’ve not corrected spelling or punctuation.

“I guess these people had nothing better to do with their lives today.”

“Why protest stores. They don’t work so can’t buy. Oh wait. We pay their welfare money. Guess they can shop.”

“They have time to protest but don’t have time to learn a new skill? I call BS!”

“Go to Ferguson I hear all their Christmas shopping is done lol sorry Are these people documented or are these that deval sent as refuges”

One poster made the salient point here: “You guys realize most people who work at Wal-Mart full time have to also be on assistance? That's on Wal-Mart. That’s Wal-Mart thinking they’ll take money from the taxes you pay to make up the difference for their employees. All the while Wal-Mart continues to rake in massive profits. Be mad at the billion dollar corporation who’d rather you feed their employees while they make bank. Wal-Mart is stealing your tax money. Get with the program.”

But of course, that point was not acknowledged by most of the posters who were too busy attempting to blame the protesters.

At this Christmas season, too many of us give lip service to the ideals of “peace on earth, good will to men.” We allow our hate and narrow-mindedness show. Basically, we don’t want any impediment in our path to buy cheap stuff. We don’t care where or how it was made and we don’t care how it was sold to us. We don’t care if the process that puts that cheap consumer good in our hands is helping to build our nation or weaken it as long as we get what we want at the price we’re willing to afford.

Folks, it’s time to wake up. Think before you speak or post. Engage in conversations, not in talking points. If you profess to believe in Christianity, then act like a Christian occasionally. Believe it not, blind hate was not part of the lessons Jesus taught. Or did I miss that class in Sunday school?

Maybe to buoy my holiday spirits I need to stop reading Facebook.

Yet another shameless plug

I’ve been invited by the Springfield Library to appear at the beautiful Indian Orchard branch to sell copies of my book “Fifteen Minutes With: Forty Years of Interviews” from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 6.  I will also have copies of my postcard history of Springfield book as well and will be offering a deal for the purchase of both books.

On Dec. 13, I will be at the Granby Public Library at 11 a.m. in a joint signing with Lauren Stock and her father Robert with their book “Necrobloods.”

Come on by to either event and say hello. 

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.