There were some thoughtful letters in a recent edition of the BND on the state of racial relations. An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll came out today and reported that 52 percent of Americans now view race relations as "good" versus 72 percent in 2009, a 20 percent decline. I cannot recall tensions being this bad -- driven by the media, race-based special interest groups, politicians and even the president -- since the mid to late 1960s when I lived in South Carolina. The reasons are much too complicated to address in a single letter, but the post-Zimmerman trial shows things are not good. If you look at the metro-east and St. Louis, and based on my youth years in the South, I'd say this region is more economically and educationally segregated than the southern towns I lived in until I joined the Air Force. I really feel that President Obama has missed several opportunities to unite all Americans. Paraphrasing the classic movie "On the Waterfront," "President Obama could have been a contender, he could have been somebody." Sadly, I think he's traded real solutions for short-term political gain.