I was overwhelmed with support and new furry friends

An old golden retriever on the beach in late afternoon.
An old golden retriever on the beach in late afternoon.
Photo courtesy of Paul Gilbert

We recently lost our beloved golden retriever, Layla. Her departure left an enormous hole in the house and in our hearts at a time when we needed her never-ending joyfulness, compassion, and affection more than ever. Losing a pet might seem like a small tragedy compared to the ongoing pandemic, but it devastated us nonetheless. There’s simply no way to prepare yourself for one of the worst times of your life.

Because of Covid guidelines and restrictions, our family has been mourning alone at home. As I floundered around in my grief, desperately missing the intimate physical, emotional, and spiritual relationship with this innately loving creature, an idea came to me. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Evan R. Lew

Why I’ve turned from the pitch and pray process to self-publishing

There’s an old axiom-if you can’t handle rejection, don’t be an actor. But make sure you add writers who submit unsolicited essays to the New York Times Op-Ed page to that list.

Over the years, I’ve had some success getting commentaries published, including the Washington Post Opinion page, NY Times Sports section, Newsweek’s My Turn column and San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. But in truth, my Holy Grail for opinion pieces has always been the Times. …


Image for post
Image for post

Why Basketball Leads the Intersection of Sports and Politics

When the National Basketball Association resumed its season inside the bubble in Orlando, plastered across arenas was the slogan: Whole New Game. Little did the league know this would soon become an understatement of epic proportions, as the work stoppage by NBA players in August was a seminal moment in the civil rights movement. But with the ongoing chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and the bitter rhetoric surrounding the 2020 election, the Black Lives Matter movement is no longer prominently featured in daily news coverage.

Yet the intersection of basketball and politics is still game on during this election cycle because there’s a historic opportunity to address not only Black Lives Matter, but to also make meaningful progress on the issue of systemic racism. How? By activating NBA and WNBA players to directly reach out to voters in battleground states and toss-up Senate races, which will focus attention on the divide between candidates who will address police violence, criminal justice reform and racial inequality and those who won’t. …


Image for post
Image for post
A firefighter works on a blaze at the Sequoia Retreat Center during the CZU August Lightning Complex Fires on August 21, 2020, in Ben Lomond, CA. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The wildfires scorching our redwoods encapsulate California’s crises overload

The fundamental character of a wildfire is that it destroys everything in its path. Watching the increasing devastation from the all-consuming fury of the massive fires burning in Northern California, I feel a special loss for both the people and natural splendor of Santa Cruz County.

Forty-seven years ago, I followed my destiny to Go West, Young Man. At age 18, I moved from Fort Lee, New Jersey, to Santa Cruz, California, sight unseen. As I watched my first multihued sunset over the sparkling Pacific, I remember thinking, This sure ain’t New Jersey.

I ended up in Santa Cruz because I was determined to go to college in California and specifically, the University of California at Santa Cruz. Barely a blurb in the encyclopedic college handbook in my guidance counselor’s office, I discovered in The Hip Guide to Choosing a College that UCSC was located on 2,000 acres of rolling meadows and redwoods overlooking Monterey Bay, that potpourri was preferred to powderpuff football, and instead of giving letter grades, teachers emphasized written evaluations and a Pass/No Record system. Sounded pretty good to a teenager eager to experience the Left Coast. …


Come Together, Right Now, Over Hemp

Image for post
Image for post

Former Vice-President Joe Biden has been rolling out major policy platforms to address COVID-19, rebooting the economy, Black Lives Matter, global warming and healing the virulent political divide spread across the country. This perfect storm of a global pandemic, the cratering of the US economy, massive civil unrest over police killings, extreme climate and bitter partisanship is forcing Democrats to rethink, pivot and plan for the uncertain times ahead.

However, there’s an unrealized opportunity that can begin addressing many of these issues, based on a centuries-old product that is gradually making a comeback. …


If facing a lopsided loss, the president could take the easy way out

By Paul Gilbert & Dave Spencer

Image for post
Image for post

With the national election less than three months away, and the polls continuing to show President Trump trailing Joe Biden by double figures, there’s an alternate scenario that seems unlikely, but not impossible. If Trump accepted the fact that he was going to lose in a landslide, would he consider withdrawing from the race or resigning from office rather than suffer a humiliating defeat?

While the president may desperately want to win, his path to victory is getting narrower and narrower. Short a miraculous downturn in coronavirus infections and deaths, and a dramatic economic recovery, he is facing an uphill battle, one where even his diehard base is overmatched. In 2016, Trump didn’t have to run on his record, instead fashioning himself as an agent of change, the outsider who would clean up Washington and drain the swamp. …


Image for post
Image for post

When faced with a national tragedy or crisis, who does the nation turn to?

By Paul Gilbert & Dave Spencer

There was a time not so long ago that the President of the United States was considered the leader of the free world. Now, amidst a perfect storm of a pandemic, the free fall of the US economy and massive civil unrest over police killings of blacks and racial inequality, we have a president who has proven time and time again that he possesses none of the leadership qualities that the office demands.

It often defies belief, but somehow Donald Trump continues to lower the bar for inflammatory rhetoric, irrational action (and lack of action) and any sense of empathy. But rather than search for novel ways to criticize the president, an exercise in futility, we can instead look back over the last forty years, to see what previous presidents said and did when faced with national tragedies and crises. Republicans and Democrats alike, they were each able to rise to the occasion and speak with compassion and conviction, reaching out to all Americans to unite the country. In times of disharmony, trauma and fear, they acted truly presidential. …


Image for post
Image for post

How Do You Make the Right Decision During a Pandemic?

By Paul Gilbert

It’s a sign of these extraordinarily uncertain times when “help a little old lady across the street,” becomes a potentially life-threatening decision.

It was late on a Sunday and I was about to enter the drugstore to pick up a prescription. Pharmacies and grocery stores are the two places I feel the most exposed to the coronavirus, so even with my mandatory facemask, I was on edge. …

About

Paul Gilbert

Four decades into the writing game, it’s still about the story.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store