Ever since 1883, when the National Legislature, during the administration of President Alfred F. Russell, declared the first Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day, we have on this day given praise and thanks to the Almighty for His manifold blessings bestowed upon us as a nation and people.
Let us in this particular Season, Thanksgiving of 2016, this entire weekend and onward, to render Special Thanks to our Heavenly Father for bringing us successfully through over a full decade of this Administration, with only a year and two months to go before it comes to an end.
We all know that it has not been easy. We have been faced with continuing corruption, with the precipitous plunge in the world prices of our two most important foreign exchange earners, rubber and iron ore, and, worst of all, the deadly Ebola virus that threatened our very existence as a nation and people.
But thank God that though we continue to wrestle with the consequences of these political, economic and medical plagues, we can raise our hands to Heaven and say “Thank God, we have survived to live and fight another day, another year, another decade against the vicissitudes of life, one of which, Ebola, threatened to extinguish us as a nation.
Why must we thank God for the final 14 months of Ellen? Because through the mercy and goodness of God, come January 2018, we will have peacefully survived Ellen’s full 12 years in power, leading us, for the first time in 78 years, to a smooth presidential transition. As we recalled in an earlier Editorial, not since President Edwin Barclay’s voluntary retirement from the presidency in 1943, prior to the presidential and general elections of that year, won by W.V.S. Tubman, have we had a smooth presidential transition (January 1944).
The reason is that Tubman, after 27 years in office, by far the longest serving of all our Presidents, died in office on July 23, 1971 and was immediately succeeded by his Vice President, William R. Tolbert, Jr. Tolbert, too, died in office, but not by natural cause. He was overthrown in a bloody military coup d’état on April 12, 1980 by a military junta led by Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe. In 1985 Doe was elected the 21st President of Liberia. But just as many, including the veteran constitutional analyst and pamphleteer Albert Porte, predicted—that a Doe presidency would lead the country to “a disaster,”— President Doe was killed in September 1990 before the end of his first term of office. A series of Interim governments followed and in 1997 Charles G. Taylor was elected the 22nd President of Liberia. His administration, too, was short-lived, as he was indicted by the International Criminal Court, arrested, convicted and imprisoned for crimes against humanity. Taylor was succeeded by another interim arrangement, headed by Charles Gyude Bryant, Chair of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL).
Bryant helped organize the 2005 elections that ushered in Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia’s 24th President. (Moses Blah, who succeeded Taylor, was the 23rd President).
The impending 2017 elections are expected to usher in Liberia’s 25th President. We, therefore, thank God for leading us so close to these forthcoming elections, and pray that they will be free, fair transparent, credible and peaceful. We are depending on the Heavenly Father to anoint a leader of His own choosing for Liberia, who will give us a new lease on life, one that will reunite the Liberian people, bring genuine reconciliation and engineer a creative, realistic and workable development agenda that will carry Liberia forward in the shortest possible time.
We thank God in advance for all of these blessings and appeal to all Liberians to think, plan, pray, strategize and work diligently to ensure that all our desired goals and objectives are realized. The aim and objective: to move our country forward.
As we said in our last Friday Editorial addressed to Liberian journalists, we Liberians must realize that we were Africa’s first citizens of an independent republic, for the simple reason that ours was the very first. Yes, there were powerful empires or dynasties, even in Africa, and of course in Europe and Asia. But most these were either militaristic or absolute monarchies, where there were no such things as the “inalienable rights” of individuals as citizens. The 1847 Declaration of Independence and the Liberian Constitution guaranteed these rights to each Liberian. Yet even with this historic, pristine (original, virgin) legacy, we find ourselves today far behind many African nations, leading
Liberians themselves to ask the question too difficult to answer, what happened to us?
Well, they say wherever there is life, there is hope. Today we are thankful that we have survived a brutal and devastating 14-year conflict, immediately preceded by 10 years of militaristic terror; and we have survived Ebola. We thank God for these.
Now let us realize that we have a lot of catching up to do. Let us now be proactive (active, get down to business) in our Thanksgiving to God. For God does not want us to be passive in our thanksgiving. He wants us to demonstrate that indeed, we do have something tangible to thank Him for. God does not want our empty thanksgiving, following which we return to business as usual. No! The good Lord wants us to demonstrate, to prove to Him that truly, we have something to be thankful for.
Nothing will please Him more!