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 Straight from the Mike – A Fourth of July, unlike any other, in my time


At the risk of dating myself and exposing my deep-rooted sentimentality for ballad tunes, a beautiful rendition by the late Brook Benton encapsulates the Supreme Court ruling on Affirmative Action. “It’s all just a matter of time.”

 Let’s try to side aside the emotional aspect of the SCOTUS 6-3 ruling. If you are frustrated, angered, disappointed and yet determined to keep on pushing, count me in with you. If we care to dive deeper, we may differ abit.

 Being a baby boomer, I bring it front and center. Yes, my family benefitted from the original goals and objectives of AA. Since its inception, during the Nixon presidency and his Philadelphia Plan, it took heed from the infamous Arthur Fletcher, who took the assignment of addressing the clear-cut discrimination in the northern construction unions.

First in my family, my oldest brother was able to parlay a substandard high school education in segregated Fayetteville, NC to go on to matriculate from Stanford University with a degree in International Relations. He happened to have been the first Black American to graduate from its impressive Palo Alto campus. Interestingly enough, they were called the Stanford Indians in those days. His middle daughter was able to take advantage of the legacy admission policy, we hear so much about. My middle brother was able to qualify for a full ride to Fordham University and ultimately a medical degree from New York Medical School. This was accomplished despite having to first attend Summer school to make up for his high school deficiencies, despite being the Salutatorian of his class.

 Hopefully, you are able to see a glimpse of a pattern here showing the absolute deficiency of our education system. Unfortunately, the limited space I have remaining will make it so I will save my story for another time.

 Look, you can whine, opine and even open a bottle of wine but you will need to understand that Affirmative Action was not designed to be an infinite program. The same goes for most government programs, i.e. Welfare, Public Housing, SNAP and EBT. As the late HUD Secretary, Jack Kemp often said, “It’s meant to be a trampoline; not a swamp.”

 Just imagine that if we had real leadership with vision at the forefront, we had ample time to close the education gap in the K-12 system, reductions of chronic absenteeism, drop out reduction, and school choice.

If you feel adventurous, as I often do, check around, even with your alma mater and ask how many freshmen have taken remedial subjects before embarking on the college courses. I bet you will be quite amazed.

A rising tide lifts all boats. And yes, we have all enjoyed fruit from trees we did not plant, a street parking meter already paid for. It is important that we realize that only two items really stand the test of time; death and taxes.

My prediction is now we will see a significant jump in HBCU’s enrollment and financial support. If you happen to be looking for a major university that truly ‘gets it’, I suggest you look at Purdue University, under the leadership of past president Mitch Daniels. They have had level costs to students for over 5 years.

Additionally, let us not forget who bought the suit before the court. No, it was not Alan Bakke this time, it was Asian Americans. Once you determine you refuse to be a ‘victim’ and truly embrace the fact that we are looking at not just another birthday for the greatest country on the face of earth.

 As the ad line for a vintage liquid libation, which I enjoy…“If you can find a better bourbon, buy it.” God’s blessings to you and have a happy 4th.

I remain Michael Murphy….


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