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Dreaming of straight talk

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 10:30 a.m. CDT

Donald Trump, United States president and international punchline, wants to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, sometimes called the “DREAM Act.” Well, he wants someone else to repeal it for him, since he can’t change laws all by himself, not until he becomes president for life.

And you can’t agree with that, can you? My God, the recipients are called “Dreamers”! Are you against dreams? Do you hate the hopes of children? When children lie in their little beds, warm in their Spider-Man pajamas, do you long to interrupt their dreams, and send them outside into the howling winds of a Chicago winter where they will no doubt be shot and killed by another, older dreamer?

When the hell did we start naming legislation the way we name our cats?

I’m serious. Whatever side I’m on, I can’t agree or disagree with anything called the “DREAM Act.” It’s not the sort of thing a serious government would call a serious law.

But, of course, we are no longer a serious people. We don’t want legislation; we want cute names.

In any given year, in any state, big piles of legislation await passage, and a great number of them are at least nicknamed in the interest of arousing a torpid public’s passion.

I live in Massachusetts. In my state, if you’re a teenager and you’re killed by an exploding birthday candle, the government may feel it should step in and prohibit the sale of exploding birthday candles.

They will not, however, get up on the floor of the House and talk about “An Act to Regulate Candles.” Instead, they will talk about “Lisa’s Law” or “Shawn’s Law.” Very often, the proposed legislation is nicknamed, not just to tug at your heartstrings, but to hide the fact that it’s poorly written, or unenforceable, or likely to be ignored once it’s passed.

Legislation ain’t breakfast cereal, and legislatures oughta quit trying to name everything like it was a box of “Sugar Bombs.” The people who make “Sugar Bombs,” by the way, fervently hope you’ll read the cutesy name on the front, and not the deadly list of life-shortening ingredients on the back. So do your legislators.

have, in my time, covered press conferences during which a local legislator, a corrupt, stupid, influence-peddling pimp, drooled on for 30 minutes about some appealingly named law he intended to vote for just before he voted for his own pay raise. The legislator was made out of the same cheap tin as the American flag in his lapel, but he knew better than to oppose something called, “Becky’s Law.”

I’m a serious person. I have serious mortgage payments, and serious go-to-work clothes, and serious savings for retirement. I want serious laws with serious names passed by serious people for serious people.

I think immigration in this country needs enforcement, and limits and re-tooling. I don’t think it needs dreamers, or chants of “build that wall,” neither of which have anything thing to do with laws in a land of laws.

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