BOSTON (CBS) – In Rhode Island, it’s standard to greet someone in the early part of the day by asking: “Have you had your coffee?”

I’m beginning to think Rhode Islanders – and the rest of us – might as well add another routine salutation: “Have you had your grievance yet?”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

The dictionary defines a grievance as “an actual or supposed circumstance regarded as just cause for complaint… Indignation or resentment stemming from a feeling of having been wronged.”

And it seems that our obsession with our grievances, real and imagined, is overwhelming common sense, common courtesy, and common cause in our culture.

As I’m writing this, the Drudge Report website, which serves as an unofficial home page for conservative grievances, has no less than 18 headlines likely to inflame right-wing grievances in the ugly national argument over the George Zimmerman acquittal.

For liberals, the Huffington Post is serving the same purpose.

Grievance-peddling is a profitable business, because it is the easiest, cheapest way to inflame passion, and passion equals page-views.

The internet is a prime offender in the expansion of grievance culture, because of its emphasis on opinion and rumor over facts and reporting.

But we in the mainstream media share the blame, every time we over-hype sensational, grievance-fueling stories and fail to provide context and balance.

However, in the end, it’s up to you and me.

We can go through life tied up in knots over our ever-growing list of grievances. Or we can start using better judgement about what’s true and false, and when we’re being manipulated.

Then maybe we can greet each other with coffee talk, instead of giving each other ulcers.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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