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Straight from the Mike…Root Causes, Root Solutions


We seem to be hearing more and more reference to the term ‘Root Causes’ used to describe the widening divisions in our society today. It includes the wealth gap, the education gap, the public safety and public health gap, and so on and so on. Without running the risk of marginalization, it may be helpful to really do a measured dive into a few popular causes and offer a few solutions, in lieu of continuing the rhetoric.

It is concerning that during this time of serious consternation in practically every metropolitan city in America and as close to home as our own Cobb County, we are seeing the underpinnings of deep frustration, lack of access or concerns for safety and well being, coupled with the absence of empathy with too many shallow answers – in response to deep questions – from leaders who should know better.

Why is it so difficult to tell people the truth about why we do not facilitate wealth building or offer healthy solutions that can stem the current tide by creating a path forward to hope and prosperity through real housing options for the working class? Admit that we have created a dearth of continuity by not stressing or encouraging financial literacy for our youth and young professionals. Admit that the decision to extricate Civics from our school curriculum has resulted in a less educated citizen about our great country. Admit that the ‘Beloved Community’ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King talked about means being inclusive. It did not tolerate the continued existence of food, banks, or quality restaurant desert.

There has to be a social impact and policy theory that can explain the over abundance of jobs, yet a shallow reservoir of job applicants. A theory that can explain how we have come to a place where the expectation of ‘cost free’ rent, free education, free medical benefits, and costs of living, et al. is so prevalent.

I have tried to recollect in my mind what might explain the morass that is upon us. The thought that came to mind was so aptly put by a speech actually often mistakenly attributed to President Abraham Lincoln. The actual credit, rightfully, goes to William J.H. Boelcker. “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away one’s initiative and independence. You cannot help those permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

Interestingly enough, the current eviction moratorium, allegedly unconstitutional, is due to expire again in October. Despite my endless optimism for those affected, I fear the date will come and the tenants who are at risk now of eviction, will still be at risk then. Simply put, I call it, potentially, an expansive ‘Merry Go Round’. The crux of the burden will fall on Landlords, who are watching their earnest investment wane. The income that provides food for their families, education for their children, is at risk of being lost by an incoming tide that gives neither mercies nor apologies.

Let us hope, as they say in presidential election years, we will see an October surprise. The kind of surprise that will enable all affected to survive and get back on the road to recovery.

Until next time.

Michael Murphy

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