Most days I wish I could just quit social media, especially Facebook.
I joined Facebook as a junior in high school about 15 years ago. At the time it was a way of keeping up with my friends and it continued that way as I journeyed through college. Somewhere along the way a change took place though. It became a platform for people to share their opinions, sow dissension and spew hate back and forth. People type things out on their phones they would never say in person, and what they don’t realize is the intent of their words cannot be conveyed by a keyboard and screen. So then there’s a misunderstanding and then an argument and they spend more than half their words explaining the feelings behind their original words. Too much is lost through the medium. Some people need to take a step back and think about the fact that they never had a career as a writer.
Yes, I wish I could just sign off and delete my account, but I get too many leads for stories from Facebook to quit. I don’t pull comments and inject them into my stories, but they do help when it comes to asking the right questions and learning what’s going on in my community.
And there is the rare pearl every now and then. When I say “every now and then,” I mean maybe once a week at this point, but it’s there. The most recent find was in response to the protests/riots set off by the recent killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This post was a picture of the actors portraying Gary Bertier and Julius Campbell in the movie “Remember the Titans” and the text read something along the lines of “America needs to sit down and watch this movie.” Now I love “Remember the Titans." Few things make me happier than watching “Sunshine” Ronnie Bass upend noseguard Kip Tyler in the Groveton game or seeing Petey squirm while Coach Boone grills him on whether or not football is supposed to be fun.
Would us sitting down as a country and watching the film projected into the nighttime sky end racism? Almost definitely not. But no matter how far off from the true events that took place in Alexandria, Virginia 50 years ago, the movie does show us how individuals — coaches (adults) and players (kids) — of different backgrounds and ethnicities can work together to reach a common goal. Most of us citizens won't be suiting up to play for a state title anytime soon, but there are other goals we should be reaching for as a society. Namely to try and make this country and the world a better place to live for ourselves and those who come after us. You can disagree on the best ways to accomplish that economically. That’s why we have a democracy, so people can have their voices heard on the best ways of meeting that goal. But as long as there is hate — whether it be based on race or what ever differences there are between people — it will get in the way of finding that Holy Grail every single time.
I went to downtown Milledgeville to take photos of the local protest going on Monday. I believe the protest was a first for me, not only as a journalist, but as a human being. Seeing groups of people from diverse backgrounds coming together for a common cause — actions like that are the answers to our problems. Unity, not division. Together, not separate.
I apologize for not having much about sports in my sports column this week, but there isn’t a whole lot going on in that realm unless you want me to talk about billionaire baseball team owners negotiating with millionaire baseball players. Talk about division.