Pillars of the Past Meet in Stride

February 23, 2018

I was downtown on business last week and happened upon one of those moments that made me think.

As I sat contemplating the problems of the day, such as where to get a real lunch, I noticed two familiar people walking down the street.

Two children of Boston pillars, Thomas O’Neil III – son of former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neil – and Maura Hennigan – daughter of the vaunted Hennigan family of West Roxbury. They walked towards one another, one with a briefcase in hand and the other with lunch.

I watched as O’Neil paused, looked at Hennigan, who also paused.

It was as if they had so much to say, so much history of Boston and the things they had seen when it was in its Old Glory days. Volumes of untold and behind the scenes history of our Old Town could have been told in that one look.

So much to say, yet at the same time, none of it really mattered anymore.

So it was, I observed them nod politely to one another and move on.

I was moved to deep thought.

Here were the children of people who shaped this city in ways none of us likely even know – from the repressed busing days here to the unforgettable “All politics is local” statement. Both of them have done very well for themselves, carved out their own successful careers, but time has eroded the influence of their names.

Those names were gold at one time.


Now the leaders of our city, in many cases, were in elementary school in other cites – far away from the raucous days of old Boston politics. They’re forging a new path that includes bicycles and metrics, and very little of it has to do with the issues that were molded and set in place by the political giants of yesteryear.

Like most places, the post-Internet generations have chosen not to build on the wisdom of the past, but throw it into the Atlantic Ocean and try to create something new. How much we could learn from the wisdom of such families and all they did and did not do.

But modern times refuse.

And these folks pass one another on a busy downtown street, and they nod politely, and they go on.


  • • • • •


Reading through the federal indictment on the Russian saboteurs has left me with a sadness for my fellow citizens.

The stuff about the poisoned turkey hoax in New York and other so called “meddling” is just disappointing. I’m no Internet guru, but I can certainly tell what is a bunch of bunk on the Internet – which most of it is.

My goodness, are we that stupid? Do we have no street smarts?

It’s like reading through the sad police reports about elderly folks getting taken advantage of by a Nigerian scam – except it’s purportedly a giant joke upon the American public.

I can’t believe we’re all so dumb and oblivious.

There’s something else to it.


Full Print Edition