Dreams

The word “dreams” can be a noun. You might say: “last night, I had a dream”.  Another usage is aspirational. You might say: “I dream of being a good person”

 

There is also an adjective usage of dreams representing something desirable: “it’s my dream that everybody just get along”.

 

Dreams are a fascinating subject.  We all have them, sometimes good, sometimes bad. My dogs have them. Dreams are the subject of iconic songs, ranging from Cheap Trick’s “The Dream Police” to Beck’s “Dreams”.  See a list here

 

Dreams are the focus of great movies, from the Wizard of Oz to Field of Dreams to Inception. See a list here

 

Dreams fascinate me, maybe because I dream a lot. I also talk in my sleep, which I am assuming is tied to dreams I am having. I know this because I’ve heard it from the leading expert on the topic – my wife – who I frequently wake with my talking and thrashing.  She says my dreams (or maybe they are my nightmares), are almost always about one of two topics – either looking for my mom (who passed away a few years ago) or something bad happening to my dogs (as if they are in danger or lost). At least these are the dreams which make it into words or mumbles. I’m sure a practiced psychologist could analyze the meaning behind why I dream about what I do.

 

One man’s dream was the subject of maybe the greatest speech ever, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”.  Read it here

 

That speech, from 1963 (when I had just turned 3 years of age), resonates to me so much 54 years later because of the current climate in our country. Dr. King’s speech was about the quest for equality and civil rights. It is framed in the struggle of African-Americans to actually be able to exercise the rights they are entitled to, a battle that unfortunately is not yet won. Dr. King’s speech was delivered nearly a century after the end of slavery, which was nearly ~150 years ago today. And the same dreams of equality exist for every other person in this country who is not white, not male, not straight, and not “Christian”.

 

Today we use the term “dreamers” to describe people who came to this country as children whose parents entered as illegal immigrants.  Parents who came to this country to find a better life for their families, just as my ancestors did. The American Dream.  I worry that by calling these folks dreamers, we eliminate the first word – American.

 

These are people who have been brought to this country by their parents who were chasing the elusive American Dream – an ideal that we’d hope every man, woman or child in the world would aspire towards. But now we are reversing course and sending them away. Or in reality using them as a bargaining chip in a cruel game of chicken with congress. President Obama tried for years to get congress to pass legislation to ensure these people are able to stay in the only country that many of them had ever known.  When he couldn’t get agreement, he issued an executive order, which Trump yesterday decided to rescind.

 

Ironically, in an instance of truly talking out of both sides of his mouth, Mitch McConnell derided DACA because it was “over reach” by a president who bypassed congress to change immigration law. This from the majority leader of a party whose president issued 90 executive orders in his first 100 days, including one that – wait for it – attempted to change immigration law, the infamous “Muslim Travel Ban”, without congress.

 

The fact that the rescinding of DACA is being done by the same administration that is trying to ban Muslims from entering the US is a two-edged show of racism in it’s purest form. The administration says they are rescinding a “flawed” order because it won’t stand up to legal scrutiny, as 10 states prepare to challenge it in court. So, I looked into which states. It’s a pretty telling list:

 

Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Idaho, Kansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Nebraska and West Virginia.

 

Look at this breakdown:

 

 State % of Dreamers to Overall Population % of Whites to Overall Population
Texas 0.45% 44%
Alabama 0.09% 65%
Arkansas 0.17% 74%
Louisiana 0.04% 58%
Idaho 0.19% 84%
Kansas 0.23% 75%
Tennessee 0.13% 73%
South Carolina 0.13% 64%
Nebraska 0.18% 79%
West Virginia 0.01% 93%

 

 

 

 

 

 

The column on the left is the percentage of the total population of each of the 10 states that is made up by dreamers, according to the census bureau and reported by Quartz: Read it here

 

The column on the right is the percentage of each of the 10 states population that is white, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation: Explore The Data

 

With the possible exception of Texas (with the second largest distribution of dreamers, behind only California – yet still less than one half of one percent of the population), why would these other states even care to challenge the executive order in court? Are the ~1,800 (tax-paying) dreamers in West Virginia really that much of a problem in that state?

 

Answer?: Only if you’re white. And 93% of the people there are.

 

Dr. King’s dream is still just that. And the American Dream is now a nightmare for 800,000 people.

 

G2

 

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