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Columnist Election

Straight from the Mike…No One is coming to Save Us


One does not have to look through a wide-angle lens to see and feel the distress, pressures and hastening of our residents. As put in the words of community activist and former elected city councilman, Reggie ‘Game Changer’ Copeland, “Ray Charles can see it.” I would be the first to admit that our society does have mounting woes on a number of fronts, foreign and domestic. The nightly news is likely to leave you in need of a liquid libation before its signs off.

I had the fortunate experience of attending a community forum sponsored by sweet Water Missions where they had three talented presenters. The one that garnered the spotlight for me was none other than Donte Philpot from the talent-laden board of the Austell Community Task Force. The title of his presentation was “No one is coming to save us.” Surely, you can finish the rest of the statement. We must save ourselves in our respective communities.

Donte talked about the key indicators of still growth or declining communities, lack of involvement and a lax, disconnected commitment to voting. It spans beyond the election periods but participation in key levers in our public policy system. He shared a comparison of responses to the most recent 2020 census between South Cobb and East Cobb. It is quite clear one area of Cobb knows how the bread is buttered; the other area does not seem to know where the bread is kept, in a box or in the fridge.

I have a dear fraternity brother who figured out the unique and useful wedding gift for many couples in their home or apartment was a breadbox. He rightfully realized most families need one but seldom get around to the purchase of one.

The tale of the tape, in case you are interested, as I sure was, the South Cobb participation rate in census response was 32%. The East Cobb rate of participation was 75%. Let me ask you, who do you think gets the greater share of that loaf of bread?

There were so many gems dropped that evening from the presenters, I departed at the end of the evening feeling like a jewel thief quickly leaving Tiffany’s.

I continue to opine the statement of a seasoned elected official many moons ago, “If every voter knew what every elected official knows, there would be no voter apathy at election time.”

The turnout numbers from the recent Primary elections clearly indicate that apathy continues to be the most widely supported candidate in both elections. If that pattern continues into the General Election, our Republic is in danger; never mind our Democracy.

Horace Mann, the father of public education, knew that our survival would depend upon an educated electorate. Given the debate torture session of last Thursday night, I am extremely hopeful to see a return to the 2008 Obama/McCain lines circling around our voting precincts this November. I suggest identifying your list of candidates worthy of your support, regardless of your party affiliation.

Moreover, the underlining point of Mr. Philpot’s message was indeed, it’s up to us. There is no free lunch. Civic engagement starts with you being discomforted with where you are, upset at what you are paying for taxes and fees, gas, utilities, groceries, and simple pleasures. How frustrated are so many young professionals and families in search of attaining the American dream of owning a home. If you don’t have heartburn by now, your resistance to disgust and discomfort puts me in your rear-view mirror.

Remember, the vote you choose not to cast will go to a candidate neither of us should want nor respect: Apathy, as well as its cousin, indolence carries the day.

I am Michael Murphy…


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