Foxboro - Sign - Autumn 2013 By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 4/2012

You live in Foxboro, it’s 2am and you’ve just been woken out of a sound sleep because you heard a very loud noise in the backyard. Do you go back to sleep, ignoring the noise and hope everything will be OK, or do you get up, go to the window, and see what’s going on?

If you have a lick of common sense you go to the window. Oh, just a dog passing through the yard. You go back to bed. A guy in a hockey mask with a chain saw? Time to call the police.

What did you just do? You realized that something was happening close to home, something that you didn’t understand, so you went to investigate, to be AWARE of what was going on. Ignoring the noise would not change the fact that something was in your back yard at 2am.

On a related note (really), I am writing today to encourage everyone that you really need to start making an effort to read the Foxboro Reporter.

Now, full disclosure as usual: I am not, nor have I ever been, an employee of the Foxboro Reporter or the Sun Chronicle. I am a professional computer programmer who STRINGS for the paper – that is, I send in my columns and they are kind enough to publish them and pay me a small sum. Don’t tell Bill, but I’d probably do it for free – in 16 years writing here, I am forever grateful for the privilege.

So no, I am not telling you to read the Reporter to up subscription numbers. I’m saying you MUST stay informed, and the Reporter is the paper of record in our town, and you would be unwise to ignore the primary source of town news.

In two decades living here, I have heard this paper called, “The Distorter,” and have met more than several folks who refuse to read this paper because of a disagreement with an editor, writer, or how a story was presented. Some of their reasons make sense to me; others are just people holding grudges over perceived slights.

And every news outlet – print or video or web – always has a bias, a slant, a way of presenting the news – read the same story in the Herald and Globe on the same day and it’s obvious. Newspapers and media outlets try to be unbiased, with mixed results. But I think the Foxboro Reporter gets it right far more often than people give it credit for. No sucking up here — read that disclosure above again – but I honestly think the Reporter is a damn good newspaper, and that the staff can get such a comprehensive snapshot of the town news out on time every Thursday is incredibly impressive.

Recently, I hear people saying they don’t read the paper because of all the anger, hatred, bile, etc about the Casino.

These are the same people who don’t follow the presidential campaign for the same reasons.

That choice is valid but foolish.

The fact remains that the news and happenings – indeed, the future, of Foxboro, is being played out in these pages and I submit to you that you need to know what’s going on.

Now, obviously the Casino story has been dominating these pages for some time, and the tone of the guest writers and columnists and letters to the editor runs the gamut from thoughtful, well-spoken, and insightful, and then others are on the other end and are patronizing, accusing, venomous, hateful, or firing salvos of obvious propaganda. To be honest, it can be overwhelming and draining. Who wants to read through all that anger and conflict and confusion? Life is stressful enough, who needs it?

That is a legitimate point. No matter how news-savvy you want to be, it’s always a good idea, once in a while, to unplug, disconnect, or just put the paper down some days.

But I submit to you today that you cannot, you must not, ignore the Foxboro news these days. The future of Foxboro is being played out. And not just about a Casino. In a few years, it will be something else. And years later, something else.

You live here. Your children go to school here, your friends are here, you vote here, you pay taxes here, and yet — you don’t read the paper. You’re sick of the dog park. Or the school politics. Or the local politics. Or the billboards. Or the town hall. Or the meals tax. Or the casino story. Or the plan to build a nuclear power plant on Foxboro Common. Or whatever.

You’re making a mistake. This is your home. This is your future. And you need to know what is going on, what people are saying, what people are doing, what is being reported. You need to know what just made that noise in your backyard.

To paraphrase something Lee Iacocca once said in his book, “Talking Straight,” read as much as you can, from as many sources as you can, and don’t believe any one source. That’s good advice. Read this paper. Read others. Watch the Foxboro Cable Access coverage of selectman and town meetings. Get online and read Foxbough Patch. If a TV station is running a Foxboro story, watch it. Get as many opinions and news sources as you can. And for God’s sake TALK to each other. But stay in the game.

In short, deliberately avoiding Foxboro news stories is foolish. Reading this paper these days can be difficult, but NOT staying informed on what is happening in your hometown is unwise.

I once heard there is an ancient adage that says: “He who does not know what he does not know is a fool to be shunned.”

We’re not all going to get along all the time, but stay informed. Decisions are not only made by those who show up, they are made by people who understand what’s going on around them. Whatever your opinion on any matter, you need to make it known, you need to be involved, and you need to understand what’s happening in the old hometown.

Think about it, OK?

End of speech.


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