LAST WORDS: How America Missed One Brief Moment in Time


Last Words Column ArtJune 1, 2012
By Wendy Thompson, Editor-in-Chief
Column:  Last Words

The way in which Americans today look back at slavery, segregation and Jim Crow with great shame and embarrassment is the way in which Americans will look back on the four years of the administration of President Barack Obama. Many Americans will later lament that their behavior was so savage and inhumane toward a good, upright, compassionate, Christian, family man, who deeply loved his wife, daughters and his country, where he was born and would become leader. They will lament that they missed an opportunity to possibly make this country greater than it is or possibly than it ever could have been. They will lament, because now we will never know what might have been, what might have taken shape in 2008 if he had been allowed to bring something to America that has never been and may never come again. They will lament that because the president is African American, they descended to the lowest form of hatred, hating a descent man.

There will be apologies long after this moment has passed, but as we all know in this life, in this grand brief movie we call life, we are rarely given second chances. If you are wise and discerning, you learn early in life to seize the moment at hand, because we won’t pass this way again. It is when and after America has descended into chaos and more hatred that we will realize that we missed it, that brief moment when we could have taken the higher road and become great. We all know the moment, because we have all experienced it in our own lives. Some of us can vividly recall the day, the moment our lives could have become great and the moment we chose mediocrity in light of the greatness offered to us. For many of us, it is a life sentence for which we will live out and it will reverberate in the lives of our children and grandchildren. For many of us, mediocrity has become our legacy, but it does not have to be so for our country and the children who will inherit the results of our actions.

If we miss this moment, we are sending a message to the world that we want to go back and any culture that has receded in history has perished. Any company that recedes perishes. Any person who recedes and stops growing dies a slow death spiritually, emotionally and eventually physically. We must power through this moment. We must do the right thing. For if we do not do the right thing, we as adults will live out this moment and then pass on. However, our children will live with the truth and the knowledge that we as Americans were hypocrites in the most common sense of the word as we were taught on Sunday mornings. For when we say this country was founded on the principle that “all men are created equal” based on Christian beliefs and teachings, we must live with those words, sit with them, walk with them, lie down with them and get up with them. But long after we are gone, our children will look back at this moment and lament that when we had the chance to do something great, a once powerful America chose mediocrity and our nation crumbled along with our moral fiber and our belief in the goodness of humankind. They will lament this moment, because when one black man came along and challenged the great America, we, this great country, chose to recede instead of rising to the challenge.

“Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all other possibilities.” — Winston Churchill


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