Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
When some guesthouses in our little resort town have no room left at the inn, instead of hanging a tasteful “No Vacancy” sign, they hang a “Sorry” sign. Sometimes the ‘sorry’ is in quotation marks.
Are they not really sorry? Are they being ironic? What is the translation for this hospitality term of art? “Sorry you thought you were going to step off the ferry, roll your dear little bag up to our door and get a room.” “Sorry you thought we would be keeping the light on for you. “Yeah right - you with your three night stay and parking needs.”
Perhaps I’m a little sensitive since being downgraded. And they can say ‘downgraded’ all they want but personally I feel degraded like some shoddy product. That S&P thing was like one big ‘he’s-just-not- that-into-you.’ And just when I thought I was done with shame.
We’re in a sorry state of affairs. There’s a big embossed ‘sorry’ sign hung out over the Congressional Inn. It’s in quotes. “Sorry you thought we were going to do anything about the environment, education, the poor, healthcare.” “Sorry you thought we weren’t in it for the money and power.” “Sorry you thought those Boehner tears were real.”
Now we who naively hoped that our country was on a different path two years ago, could just bow our heads and hang a ‘sorry’ sign off our neck and get back to Jersey Shore reruns. Or we could circle George Bush’s Crawford/Dallas spreads and demand he stand trial for war crimes. We could march on Bank of America. We could volunteer at a Planned Parenthood Clinic. We could work for the re-election of those NY Senators who stood for marriage equality, or the re- election of President Obama, even when he’s being too sorry.
All over the world, people are rising up, risking their lives, fighting back. What’s your plan to give the right-wing Christo- fascists something to cry about? What’s your plan to kick some sorry ass? Let’s make them sorry they were ever re-born.
If you liked this article by Kate Clinton, a columnist for The Progressive magazine, check out some of her other pieces by clicking here.