“One thing that I know for sure, is that few people, if any, will ever say sorry.”
As knuckleheaded and amateurish as it typically is to paint whole generations with hunches and generalizations, it’s impossible for me to ignore one thing about anybody who came of age in the wake of Richard Nixon’s fall from grace. Baby Boomers, basically. Ever since learning about Watergate and how that evil prick went down, and any number of outrageous subsequent displays of enduring conservative boorishness in the decades that followed, I always sensed that most people my parents’ age were rightfully bitter—to varying degrees, of course—as a result of having witnessed a villain’s decapitation, only to realize that Nixon was merely a mammoth of a menace in a monstrous world of megalomaniacs eager to follow in his footsteps.
These days, I feel like I share in their disillusionment. More than ever before, I understand that wrongs are rarely righted, and that even when they are, there’s little if any accountability. And in most cases, there won’t be any apologies.
It’s difficult to write a column that isn’t going to come out until after an election, especially one that will guide the future of this planet in so many serious ways. Whole sentences could take on different meanings depending on who wins the presidential race in particular. But one constant, one thing that I know for sure, is that few people, if any, will ever say sorry. If there’s something you can count on in uncertain times, it’s that you can rarely count on people to admit that they regret pulling for politicians who used their offices for the exact kind of profiteering that good government watchdogs tried to warn people about.
Your uncle with the speed boat and the flashy pickup with truck nuts and flag tints who pours lighter fluid on every holiday dinner table—he isn’t going to call and concede that his preference for president used him and all his ignoramus buddies to sell a couple of thousand new Mar-a-Lago memberships and bless his own cronies with tax breaks.
The same goes for your college roommate who came out as a suburban Blue Lives Matter white supremacist on Facebook back in 2016, and your co-worker who smothers people of color with microaggressive demands—whether their hero wins or not, don’t expect a holiday card outlining the ways in which they erred.
And there’s pretty awful news about your grandfather the Fox-watching bigot as well; sadly, he won’t be apologizing either, since he’s en route to the hospital with COVID-19, which he picked up playing pinochle in close range of a couple dozen other wrinkly racists.
Sorry, selfish savages, every last one of them, but not sorry enough to apologize. They didn’t give in after their guy Nixon was brought down, so why start now?
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.