Friday, September 7, 2012

Defining a DREAMer

Defining a DREAMer

            Tonight I started thinking about the hundreds of times I’ve said, typed and dreamt the term “Dreamer” over the past couple years.  Not to mention the dozens of times I’ve watched the movie “Dinner with Schmucks” where the term Dreamer is used repeatedly (no one has ever accused me of being an intellect).  There is a scene in the movie where Barry, played by Steve Carrell, speaks about the “Tower of Dreamers.”  At the end of the monologue, Barry so movingly states:

            Dare to dream. Dream your wildest dreams.
You can climb the highest mountain.
You can drown in a teacup, if you find a big enough teacup.
And if somebody tells you that you can't do something, you say, 
"Yes, I can. 'Cause I'm doing it right now!"

We should all take a lesson from Barry and follow his direction!  After listening to the participants at the Democratic National Convention say “DREAMer” so many times that the term may have actually jumped the shark, I figured it might be fun to look up the definitions of the term.  I went on and found three definitions:

Dream·er [dree-mer] noun
1.  a person who dreams.
2.  a person who lives in a world of fantasy; one who is impractical and unrealistic.
3. a person whose ideas or projects are considered audacious or highly speculative; visionary.

A person who dreams: Well, duh.  This is exactly what I think of when I use the term DREAMer, in the immigration context.

A person who lives in a world of fantasy; one who is impractical and unrealistic: The GOP could be called DREAMers too?  Good luck with that self-deportation platform, Mr. Romney and Mr. Kobach.

A person whose ideas or projects are considered audacious or highly speculative; visionary: This might be a good definition for our President on immigration.  It would be nice to see wider use of his executive powers in order to stop the removal of individuals from the United States.  Lest we forget the record number of deportations on his watch, but with the recent announcement of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) perhaps it’s the first step to making good on his overdue promise for comprehensive immigration reform from four years ago.

Thinking back to the 2008 presidential election, I remember telling others about young people who were DREAM-Act eligible.  Always having to explain what it all meant.  Eventually I started using the term “DREAMer” on a regular basis, but I still had to explain what I meant by that expression.  Now the terminology has become part of the everyday vernacular.  There have been some incredible strides made in this movement during the past year.  Anyone who has been involved in this movement has a right to celebrate these achievements.  But, before we all start high-fiving one another or liking each other’s Facebook statuses, let’s remember that we still have a long, long way to go in this struggle.

We must continue to hold our politicians, on both sides of the aisle, accountable for their lack of leadership in getting Comprehensive Immigration Reform passed.  We cannot become complacent.  Do not forget about all those other “DREAMers” who may not meet the definition under DACA.  The 35-year-old DREAMer, the 40-year-old DREAMer, and the 50+ DREAMer’s.  Keep up the great work everyone and don’t forget to tell those people who try to dissuade you from speaking out:

"Yes, I can. ‘Cause I'm doing it right now!"

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