How Long, Oh America

They needed a name, something catchy. It Gets Better was taken. #BanBossy was taken. #notbuyingit was taken. Hope had already been used. They wanted something that would be meaningful, convey their message. They decided on How Long, Oh America. As soon as someone suggested it, everyone knew it was perfect. Then . . .

Please leave a comment with your first 50 words on the topic “how long, oh America.” And thanks to KathrynDean2013‘s mom for the prompt.


Author: Virginia DeBolt

Writer and teacher who writes blogs about web education, writing practice, and pop culture.

3 thoughts on “How Long, Oh America”

  1. “How old is America, class?” Mrs. Baxter asked her second graders. She was standing in front of the room with a green dry erase marker poised expectantly in midair. A chorus of replies rang from every direction around my desk.
    “237 years,” said the tiny voice that lived inside my head behind my eyeballs. I blinked my eyes three times. That was code for “be quiet.” It wasn’t me that knew the answer. It was Minnie.
    I kept Minnie a secret from everyone. Not even Mom knew. She had enough on her plate with my sister, Shelley. She was born with Progeria. That’s a whole other story. Every night I pray to Jesus to give mom and Shelley a miracle. If not a miracle, at least help from the health insurance company. If Mom wasn’t stressed out all the time, I might consider asking her advice on what to do about Minnie.
    Mrs. Baxter asked us to write in our journals about America. I figured since Jesus was busy, I’d ask our country to help my family. I turned to a clean page in my composition notebook and wrote:
    How long, oh America, before you help my mom pay for Shelley’s heart medications? She deserves a chance to live and she needs these pills to help her be strong. I think Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would agree. Sincerely, Luke.

  2. The cantankerous lefty, the one who always looked about to, did what we expected. Jumped up, said, “Whole thing stupid!” We slumped in our chairs. Ceres, the visionary, rose slowly from her chair, “How long, oh America, till people who should work together find a way to DO IT?”

  3. Then there was silence. No one knew what to say next. They knew what was coming. They knew the consequences. The name was more poetic than they had intended, it made them think about what had happened. They had come full of angry intent but now they were just sad.

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