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Straight from the Mike…Ketchup Aplenty


Ah these times, they are a changing. There was a time in America where many of us were quite comfortable with the message Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King expounded. Remember, in just a few months, communities all over America will once again extol his message and vision. Dr. King stressed the content of one’s character, not skin color.

What we are witnessing is the threat of reversion back towards the days of isolation, separation, measured cooperation, and a general distrust of folks that did not look like you, in our communities across this nation.

I cannot recall a period of time when the ‘R’ word has been so shamelessly used for practically every encounter, almost every circumstance, and almost every interface involving individuals, regardless of background, profession, birthplace or religion. The tendency seems to be that common ground with reason is simply not the address one is looking for these days.

Thomas Sowell, the renowned economist and social theorist, put it best. “Racism has become like ketchup, we’re trying to put it on everything.” For me, this irresponsible trend leads to less of a reaction to legitimate situations that really merit attention. Instances of discrimination, overt and covert racism, as well as internalized racism need to be addressed. I know it when I see it and I bet you do too, if you are of an open mind and have your eyes wide open. Good instinct coupled with a good dose of reason and common sense usually leads one to the right conclusion or opinion on situations that arise.

What has it come to that we seem to be more comfortable saying black or white, in lieu of saying us? Have the words on coinage like Un Pluribus Unum become just a phrase to show we know a little Latin, not grasping the real meaning. Moreover, have the words United States of America become dress up words for political expediency and to appear ‘PC’? You have heard me opine over and over, words matter but actions matter more.

A telling example of how the ketchup is getting just too thick is the news of an East coast city looking into introducing anti racism teachings to kindergarten kids. Man please! Our kids come into the world pure of heart, mind with a colorless view of people. They give love and enjoy love in return. The longer they can enjoy that way of life, the better. As my mother repeatedly told me, “ Son, you are only young once”. What a truism! If parents invest the time to instill a value system and provide examples of respect and tolerance of all people, the better chance for a happy childhood, a strong family unit and fertile ground for building character, and a positive outlook. By the way, a positive outlook goes hand in hand with a good attitude that will only grow and pay dividends over the years.

One of my most memorable stories, relating to color lessons for our kids, came from my friend, the late Honorable Jack Kemp. He shared the story that a grandfather took his grandson to the circus. There was a release of different colored balloons in the tent. His young grandson noticed that the white balloons were rising higher than the black balloons. He asked his grandfather what was up with that? The grandfather responded to his observation by explaining to him that it is not the color of the balloon; it’s the amount of air inside.

Oh, by the way, in case you have not deduced it by now, I am neither a supporter of CRT nor a believer of the ‘1619 Project’. I have concluded, particularly with CRT, that it is a misguided, irresponsible waste of young minds’ time. Ebel, a Swiss watchmaker, has as its slogan ‘architects of time’. I have a penchant for good watches; thus I enjoy two Ebels in my collection. However, I have come to believe we are the real architects of time and how we choose to spend it on ourselves and with others is a valuable gift. We can neither roll it back nor claw it back.  

Furthermore, it is critically important that we do not let the current buzz words of Diversity and Inclusion become just the flavors of the month. Some of us have seen enough surveys and sunsets to know anything worthwhile has to stand the test of time; it needs to be well founded, feasible and equitable, even for the least of thee. It has been my experience there are just too many programs that offer nothing more than the illusion of inclusion.

The late Rodney King said it best and his statement has truly stood the test of time, “Can’t we all just get along.”

Until next time…

Michael Murphy 


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