Well, today has been one of the most 2020 days of the year so far. And by that I mean spiral out of control, non sensical, you got to be kidding me with this crap, right? kind of days. It started off this morning at 6am when I drove through the center of Norfolk and noticed the DefeNd the Police giant truck driven sign was parked there so I stopped and snapped a pic while holding up my support Norfolk Police sign I picked up yesterday afternoon at PrintMaster. Posted it, wrote how I thought it was cool, as a firefighter and an elected official - I have always been very pro public safety (not blindly and think there are areas that can be improved upon) and I proudly stand with my brothers in blue. I didn’t think much more about it and went about my merry way.
Around 11am I’m in a meeting with a local selectman and my phone starts blowing up with 4 calls in a row from CiCi - she isn’t the chat on the phone type so I figured I better take it as I thought something was terribly wrong. She then proceeds to ask me to take down the post because people are calling the police and town hall and complaining that it is my truck and I did this and it is against by laws etc. etc. My response was to heck with them (my response might have been a bit more colorful) but she was so upset - I said fine. I found it interesting that no one was calling me to actually ask me about it and they were all calling her to complain since she is a selectman. And while it seems bizarre - Norfolk actually has a by law that prohibits this type of sign - and this bylaw has been around as long as I can remember - although I don’t know why it was originally enacted. So I just quickly deleted it so I could get back to my meeting. To be honest, I didn’t really give much deep political thought about it and it was just easier to delete it - although I was still puzzled why anyone was complaining about me taking a pic. But - it’s 2020 so anything is possible - and more importantly, my wife was upset and she has to put up with so much meanness and nonsense from some people purely because they have some political agenda against me. Spoiler alert - she volunteers a ton of hours each week for the town and considering what her hourly rate is (one of the most sought after divorce attorneys in the state)- you would think they would be kissing her ass for all the pro bono work - but nooooo… hate certainly lives at some of these people’s houses.
So, I’ve taken down the post and write a quick blurb about why I took it down. Decided no need to get into every aspect because people would understand - and bam!…wrong- 2020 got me again! I then spent the afternoon receiving nasty emails about the fact that I was not actually supporting the police and I was a coward and I shouldn’t surrender to the mob. One “gentleman” even called me a spineless f*ck. Wonder if he kisses his mother with that mouth? Anyway, I’m thinking - these people must not follow me because anyone who does - knows that I speak relatively freely, honestly, and much to my wife’s chagrin- without a filter. Again, it is 2020 but- wow, there are some very bizarre people in the world to get this worked up over the fact that I took down a Facebook post - and for the record - every really nasty message I received came from people who I don’t know and don’t live in the district - so it appears that maybe I was put out on some troll red alert page. Again- I don’t think there are any reps that support the police more than I do - so… I’m blaming it all on this messed up year.
And in a bit of a non sequitur, but some of these posts reminded me of an issue I have been wanting to bring up. If you can’t be nice and respectful to the other posters - please don’t post on my page. You want to attack me, that is fine, but lately a few people have disagreed with me and posted totally appropriate messages as to why they felt I was wrong or offered up an alternative view point. And then they got attacked, ridiculed, etc. Please do not do this - I like hearing differing opinions, having debate and discussion, its how we in a civil society used to behave. I appreciate you having my back but please do it in a positive way to foster more discussion. Not to mention, I have a lot of great friends who I disagree with on many political issues - but there is way more to life than politics. Again, this is rare but I had to mention it because some people were very upset and felt singled out. And while I try to read every comment - often there just isn’t enough hours in the day so I don’t necessarily notice it, or I skimmed through and I didn’t look at the series of responses in their entirety in the context that they may be directed at one person. I don’t think most people are trying to be mean - but as we all know - social media is open to various interpretations and you might be joking while the other person is feeling that you are being very personally aggressive. Or one person is having a bad day, or whatever. Just always try to be kind - we really are in this mess together.
That being said, if the person is a troll totally coming on the page to be a tool with a political agenda (I can think of a couple of people in particular who need to get a job or a hobby or something) - feel free to point out that they are an ass. Although to be honest, ignoring or shunning them has a much better result because they crave the attention to fill up their empty, soulless lives. Act like they are an insignificant speck and that will be maddening for them so they will get crazier and crazier or, better yet, get bored and troll somewhere else. Although it is bizarre, these folks aren’t my Facebook follower/friend so they actually have to take the time to type in my name in the search bar in order to find me so they can read my post to be offended - How sad that their life is this empty. I almost feel bad for them. Almost. I realize it is hard not to take the bait and I too fall for it every now and then. But one of my favorite colloquialisms (remember- I grew up in the South) is: Don’t wrestle with pigs - you get dirty and the pig enjoys it.
Anyway, sorry for such a long diatribe but I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed. Hope that makes sense to ya’ll and I truly don’t want anyone to think I caved to the mob. To be honest - I usually go the other way and double down when someone tries to bully me. Yes, I know - take your own advice Shawn and walk away. Damn stubborn Irish genes.
And unfortunately, back to the real world - 15 more people died who had tested positive for Covid and 419 more people received positive test results today. Also, we have had 3 days in a row with an increase in hospitalizations - but when you look at it in its entirety - that statistic remains on a slow downward trend.
Lots of work and calls on dealing with the Plainville and Wrentham being designated red announcement. Very animated conversation with the Governor this morning and I think he understood what I was trying to say - and hopefully this will help other communities going forward. But I feel that there is so much riding on this color coded map - that before the state pins that on a community - they should call up and see if there is some additional information that they should take into account - like all the positives being in one cluster in one nursing home. I’m not saying ignore it - but maybe move it up only one level (in this case from green to yellow) and put an asterisk by it - or something.
The reality is that the “red” designation automatically triggers consequences so the state should be more judicious in breaking out the red magic marker. I will give kudos out to all the administrators and officials in Wrentham, Plainville, and the schools who I have been dealing with. They were completely on top of things and it is great to have such wonderful and conscientious partners. This is why I am such a big supporter of more local control and less big, centralized government. The people here on the ground understand that it isn’t a community based spread and it actually is incredibly well contained - and the town officials are doing everything to help the nursing home and the people infected - without running around screaming that the sky is falling. I get that this is overwhelming for the state and the administration has a lot of moving parts to take into account - but, to be honest- I don’t really care - I care about my towns and as I stressed to Charlie - my job is to be a zealous advocate for the people and if I wasn’t calling him to push on this, I am not doing my job. Fortunately he was a selectman in his past life, so he at least gets that local government is much more personal and face to face. Doesn’t mean he is breaking out the white-out to adjust the map - but it was a very productive chat.
Sorry for such a long, self centered post - but you know me - open book, heart on my sleeve. Keep doing what you are doing, signs were delayed at UPS so the new ones should be here tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has requested one - hopefully I will get them all up this weekend. Be well, be kind, be beautiful!
And thank you for all your support!