Category Archives: Current Events / News Commentary

Washington 2018: Have you no sense of decency?

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and The Boston City Paper, 10/2018

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. … Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?” — Attorney Joseph Welch, speaking to Senator Joseph McCarthy, 1954

“Be decent, and don’t make it about yourself.” — Rachel Maddow, MSNBC 8/26/2018, speaking to the White House.

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January 13, 2018: BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 1/2018

With a brief but welcome respite from the Arctic temperatures of the last two weeks, and most of the snow melted, we used Saturday morning to begin deconstructing Christmas outside the house. That was followed by catching up on some computer work.

A little after 2 o’clock, my wife called me from downstairs. The last few years both of us have become serious news viewers, so it’s not unusual for one of us to call the other about some breaking news — more often than not about the current administration and goings on in Washington, which we follow closely.

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“We will be okay,” two signs of hope in troubled times

We Will Be OkayBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City paper 11/2017

“We will be okay.”

It’s Sunday; I’m driving around Foxboro Common and I pass the Universalist Church and these four words on their little announcement sign jump out at me. “We will be okay.”

As I’m inspired. I really am. That’s my next column, I say to myself. There is hope. I happen to notice another sign across the street, which I will get to in a moment.

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Las Vegas Mass Shooting – nothing has changed since Sandy Hook, is this the new America?

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 10/2017

These are my words:

For the next few weeks, the news magazines will run pictures of vigils and lit candles. “Experts” from all sides will debate every aspect of what happened. We will get to know the children, the adults, and the shooter and his family. People from all walks of life will get into a war of words about gun control. There will be hearings, investigations.

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Why Local Newspapers Are So Important

Foxboro Reporter

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 8/2017

“The truly literate and involved American should be reading the local newspaper. Weekly newspapers and the internet are also vital to maintaining an educated citizenry. We must ensure that they continue to flourish because they are all important resources for maintaining a healthy democracy.” — John W. Whitehead, “Why Local Newspapers Are the Basis of Democracy,” Huffington Post, 5/14/2009

In this digital age, it is very likely you are following everything that’s going on in Washington right now.

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Finding joy in the spirit of America, Independence Day 2017

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 7/2017

In June, I decided I wanted to run a column for Independence Day and started working on it two weeks out. Then, the writer’s block set in. The problem – balancing a “feel-good” piece about the celebration of our independence at a time when it seems disingenuous to be celebrating anything.

This Independence Day feels different, doesn’t it? Sure, the country changes every day — and has since the start — but the changes this past year have been dramatic, blindsiding, and seem to fly in the face of what America is SUPPOSED to be all about.

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Finding a balance between CONSTANT bad political news, being vigilant, and the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 4/2017

In a recent Saturday Night Live sketch, the President of the United States (played by Alec Baldwin) faces off against the three judges who stopped his executive order travel ban – in, of all places, “The People’s Court” TV show. It’s an over-the-top, silly skit, but also topical. Cecily Strong, who played the TV judge, said these words which were not only hilarious, they RESONATED:

“I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me.”

And suddenly, a political comedy sketch became real.

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Play the TV News Snow Game! (Global Warming #alternativefacts means more snow!)

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 2/2016

 

To provide a welcome break from all those pesky (and constant) political news stories that either upset us, confuse us, or make us really mad, welcome to slow news day, snowstorm edition!

After the horrific snow apocalypse winter of 2014-2015 (Actual record 105” of snow in Boston and constant Nor’easters that winter) these past two years have been relatively calm. Why?

It’s all due to global warming, which was discovered a few weeks ago or something and as a result we only got a few small storms these past two winters.

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End of Summer 2016: Thoughts on a variety of topics

Entering Foxboro SignBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 9/2016

This past March was the 20th anniversary of the date I started writing for this newspaper. Then, and now, I consider it a privilege and one I do not take for granted and something I hope I will be doing for a long time to come.

Sometimes, an idea for a column is so strong that I will literally race home to write it. Other times, a piece may take days or even weeks to organize and compose my thoughts in the way I want to present them.

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Pulse massacre in Orlando – another senseless shooting, and more tweets of thoughts and prayers – It’s time to DO something.

13445359_10153880600878547_1697480610352181283_nBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City paper 7/2016

Brace yourselves, this one isn’t summer fluff, I’ll be funnier next time. Also, as much as I have been working on this one, it’s still a little all over the place, so apologies in advance that this piece is not as tight as usual and more “stream of consciousness.”

After the Pulse Nightclub Orlando massacre, there were many images of folks lined around the block giving blood in Orlando.

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Taking time to appreciate the American Flag and reflect on its promise

American Flags on Foxboro Commonby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 5/2016

It’s Saturday morning, and like so many others around town I am running errands. Driving on Mechanic Street I spot them – the American flags all along the sidewalk, encircling the common, and also running down parts of Mechanic and Central Street.

The flag’s “magical” appearance several times a year – Memorial Day, founders day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day and when needed – don’t happen by magic – the flags are carefully and respectfully placed by a nameless benefactor or benefactors* – one of the many people who do something for this town behind the scenes.

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Foxboro 2016: The dog park is back!

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2016

It’s not often that “PLAY NICE” is the core of two consecutive op/eds, but here we are.

If you’re new to Foxboro, the collective groan you just heard is the announcement that the dog park is back in the news.

Its history is complicated, but back in 2008, here in Foxboro, a battle raged – literally raged – over whether a dog park should be allowed to remain open.

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We Are All Patriots — Thank you Pats for an amazing 2015-2016 season!

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By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 2/2016

A year ago, in 2015, before the AFC game, I wrote a column in this space saying thank you to the New England Patriots and their organization for a great season and for all they do for us.

I deliberately published the piece BEFORE the game – I wanted to emphasize that regardless of that outcome, we are so proud of our Patriots.

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Where Are You Christmas? The Christmas Season Doesn’t Start in September

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper 1/2016

My grandmother – God rest her soul – had a holiday tradition that was not exactly beloved. EVERY Christmas – without exception – at some point on Christmas Day, she would say, “Well, Christmas is as far away as it ever is.” As I recall, one year she said it while we were still opening presents early in the morning.

Nana – well remembered with love to this day, but not a Christmas person.

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The horror as school shootings become “routine”

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By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 10/2015

Once again, a school shooting.  This time, in Oregon.   The facts come in. This many dead. This many wounded. Shooter is dead. Details about the shooter come in. President speaks. Candlelight vigils held. Grief counselors sent to the school. Politicians tweet prayers (Wow. Just wow.) National dialogue is all about guns for a week or two.

And nothing changes. We move on.

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