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Straight from the Mike…In Black or White


The world appears to revolve around distinct dichotomies. The most basic one for me continues to be the simile of color. I find it so defining, plausible, and understandable. Case in point, as the political calendar shrinks and the time clock winds down, the search for quality challengers to step forward, come up to the table, and take a sip from the cup of public service continues in several circles. One can exemplify the courage, stamina, temperament, and resources to sustain a viable candidacy. It can be an awesome experience at any level.

Folks, we are at a tipping point. We are staring down the barrel of a political awareness spectrum, the likes of which I cannot recall to this extent and in a major election year. Specifically, the lack of inclusion and vision, coupled with citizen complaints, dissatisfaction, poor representation, neglect, deceit, delay, and denial is not just prevalent, it is rampant in much of the public arena today. The founders surely anticipated this possibility in a republic. They knew, as have historians, philosophers, and educators that have followed them in history, the preservation of our nation is dependent upon an educated electorate.

You can reference de Tocqueville or Horace Mann, the father of public education. They clearly understood the challenge now upon our society. For me, it is to the point that when I hear about voter registration drives; the question arises in my mind, where have you been? What have you been doing? Why has your mirror, or your North Star not shown you the necessity to step up and be counted? I worry whether or not we are rightfully arousing potentially active voters or just seeking to feel good about the effort and good PR.

However, I really get excited when I hear about voter education drives and pro-democracy forums. I am convinced that informed voters, concerned citizens and attention getting questioning with reason are the most potent weapons against a rising oligarchy. The words of Edmund Burke ring so true, “All that is necessary for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing.”

Meanwhile, I must get back to my earlier reference to the lines of demarcation expressed in color terms. My ongoing efforts to recruit, encourage and engage residents considering public office this spring ultimately comes down to either a ‘yes,’ the green light, or a ‘no’, the red light. There is nothing in between. You are either in or out. As the Urban League’s slogan says, “You are either part of the solution, or you are part of the problem.” As someone who has said ‘yes’ a time or two, maybe too often, I can respect the trials and tribulations of determining whether you want to go through the process. It is like the narrow middle of an hourglass that allows the flow of white sand, such is the development of a candidates’ race.

It seems that once the decision is made, rays of hope seem to manifest themselves. However, my answer to the question of any regrets? Heck no. A good candidate never loses a race, may not have won but you got in the game and fought the good fight. I can favorably recall often hearing concerned voters say, “You gave me a choice.”

From my vantage point, I cannot think of a more opportune time in our community, for our community, from a public policy standpoint, preserving our vitality and citizenship vigor than the time at hand now and during this election cycle to be a new candidate. Those potential candidates who have valued my input and veracity enough to ask for my ‘two cents,’ you know you got all of that and then some. Like many of you, I am looking for changes in the direction of our government, more transparency, and a commitment to excellence in public service.

Yes, we can still get there from here. We just need to get in the boat and row together, albeit some folk with different strokes, but in a forward direction.

And for others not so inclined, let me leave you with a few lines from a song by songstress, Regina Belle’s, I Dream of Colors. “Tired of living life in black and white. There is so much in between. Like a rainbow in the sky crying to be seen.”

In case you missed it. Last week, I was honored to be appointed by Governor Brian Kemp to the Board of Juvenile Justice. I look forward to the opportunity. I will not be like a potted plant. And finally, it was quite a good feeling to take a public oath again and the setting not be in a court of law.

I remain Michael Murphy….


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