A New Year's revolution

After attending the 12:10 Mass at Mission Church in Roxbury on Tuesday, a couple of long-time area residents greeted us after the service us by saying, "Happy New Year Mayor Flynn, it's great to see you here once again. You may not realize it, but whenever people from Mission Hill get together and talk about the old days, your name is always brought up in the most affectionate way." Sure we talk about the day you came here with St. Mother Teresa and the night of the Carole Stuart murder, but also about all the many funerals, weddings and all the Holy Week events that you attended over the years. You even brought the President of Ireland here, and who can forget Ted Kennedy's funeral. But talking to Trisha Fitzgerald, the wife of the beloved and now deceased State Representative Kevin Fitzgerald as she was leaving Mission Church, I told her how I often came over to the novena with my mother every Wednesday night as a kid. After praying for my dad's recovery from TB and then getting a cup of hot tea at Mike's Donut Shop across the street and talking to the Irish ladies, we would catch the bus back home to South Boston. Two hours later she would go off to work scrubbing big downtown office buildings all night with the other ladies.

Later on Tuesday, while waiting for the train at the Orange Line T Station, a young man who said he just came from prayer service at the mosque up the street, said to Kathy, my 10 year old grandson Braeden, and me, "Mayor, I listened to you and Mel King recently speaking to the community in the Mission public housing development here in Roxbury about your effort to get people working together for peace and unity in our troubled neighborhoods. There was a big crowd there and I think the teenagers there got a lot out of it. Very informative and respectful. But I didn't read one single word about it in the press. Violence, terrorism and crime are big news, I understand that, but why wasn't that positive meeting important news as well."

I told him that the press has staff limitations, but I bet if somebody had written a letter to the local newspaper that it probably would have been published. "Most reporters want to be fair and objective, but as I've experienced over the years, they oftentimes have to depend on people from the community to alert them to any positive events, not just protests and demonstrations."

Honestly, I don't care what left wing or right wing activists and media people have to say. They usually are grandstanding for attention and we've learned that a few haters can dominate the news. Before we could turn these haters and uninformed people out, but not anymore. Unfortunately, our country and civilized society are paying a heavy price, especially our children. Tragically, anybody can say anything they want, even if it is not true or hurtful to innocent people. But don't expect it to change anytime soon.

What a great New Year's Revolution it would be for all of us to make -- that is to not listen, read or spread any hateful things about anybody in 2017. Let's stop the hateful rhetoric, it's not American.

- Raymond L. Flynn is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and Mayor of Boston.