Will Rodgers Was Right About DACA

While eating my lunch, I’ve been reading the news about DACA and the reactions thereto on Facebook. I’ve also been thinking about my recent trip, and Will Rodger’s famous statement that people’s minds are changed through observation, not argument.

When you look at most of the people supporting DACA, they are people that either know a dreamer directly, or are close to someone who knows one. They know the hard work these people put in; how they strive to make their lives better and the world a better place. They also know, from first hand discussion, what would happen to these people if they are kicked out of the only country they have known.  A similar narrative exists, by the way, for those who work with immigrants and refugees — legal or not. They know how much these people treasure this country, how hard they work to stay here and improve their lives. They know how important it is for their kids to be educated and go to college, and to exceed and do even better than their parents. These kids, with aspirational goals, are the dreamers we talk about with DACA. These are people that must succeed, for there is no significant welfare largess, so significant safety net.

I’ll note that this ethic: the ethic of hard work, of striving to be better, of pushing to move forward, learning, growing, and educating — and using all such opportunities available to you — this ethic is something that is often missing on those born in this country. I think we all personally know citizens that would rather wait for just the right job, are happy being on welfare and government assistance, are willing to work but not to work extra hard. Eliminating DACA will not suddenly employ these folks, will not solve the problems of society.

We just took a road trip through parts of the country that do not support DACA. From my observations, the people in those parts of the country don’t have the same level of interaction with Dreamers or Immigrants. Their view is not shaped by their experience and observations; that vacuum instead sucks up the arguments of bias. Essentially, in the absence of observation and experience, they are willing to believe what they are told about “those people”. They believe they are the ones taking the jobs away from them, sucking money from Washington, and generally abusing public service. The facts of the contributions of these people don’t sway them; in fact, no argument will. They are the people that will, alas, fulfill a different Rodgers adage: “There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”  The problem is that learning their lesson will hurt innocent people just trying to do good. Rodgers has an adage on their view of that as well: “Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.”

P.S.: For those who believe I’m quoting someone who was consistently liberal, remember it was also Rodgers who said “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”