It doesn't matter how much education you have, or your position in life, or how cool you think you are – how you treat people tells all.

I was uplifted when I saw a photograph of Boston Police Commissioner William Gross smiling alongside U.S. Attorney General William Barr, an event that ignited a firestorm of partisanship, intolerance and prejudice from Boston City Councilors, Mayor Marty Walsh and Attorney General Maura Healey, to name a few.

While the objectors described the meeting as a disgrace to cities and towns and a breach of trust to communities, I support Boston's first Black police commissioner's decision, and value Gross's sane and reasonable counter to his critics, when he basically told them he wasn't about politics and he wouldn't hide or back down from the discussion at a time when officials should be having such conversations.

The hastily-planned get-together – which U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling wasn't part of and received short notice that it was happening – was an opportunity for the police commissioner to let A.G. Barr know in blunt, straightforward language what the concerns and needs of Boston policing are. But the reaction to his decision to meet makes my flesh crawl.

The kickback and hostile response to the commissioner's confab is spine-chilling. His faultfinders are vilifying the idea of listening to people with different views, the bedrock of a free society. They have created a culture of hostility around people with different views. That does more than curdle my blood, it freezes it.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app