New Orleans The DREAM Act is bumping and stumbling its way to a vote in the Senate to the quack of the lame ducks and the politics of desperation, but once again young people are showing muscle and grit to lead this movement. For the last two weeks more than a dozen students at the University of Texas at San Antonio have been on a hunger strike trying to gain the sympathy and support of Senator Kaye Bailey Hutchinson (R-Tx). According to stories on Colorlines and the Lookout, this week more than 40 other students from all over Texas including campuses in Dallas and the Rio Grande Valley joined the hunger strike this week. In fact they were even joined by students from Texas A&M for one day.
Hutchinson is a rough vote, but the DREAMers did their homework, and recognized that she had voted in the past in favor of earlier iterations of the DREAM Act in sessions past. Thus far she has responded by saying that she’s not with us this time:
“A spokeswoman for Hutchison’s office said this week that the hunger strikers have not moved her.
“The Senator appreciates their passion but strongly believes that they should pursue safer and more constructive methods of promoting their cause,” said the spokesperson.”
You have to appreciate the special irony here. A politician refuses to do the one thing that she is qualified and able to do which is vote right, but wants to offer tactical advice to the students. Personally, I would have been fascinated to hear Senator Hutchinson’s advice on exactly what these students might do at this juncture that would be not only “more constructive” but also “safer.” I’m not a fan of hunger strikes, but increasingly proponents of the DREAM Act are in a box canyon with few alternatives and they can see their running room disappearing with each tick of the clock that puts a good vote farther away from them.
It’s hard to get ready to sit down to Thanksgiving without seeing these students at our table. We’ve been lucky. A lot of the young people joining us for this celebration of thanks, health, and family have been able to go to school and find work that they can do and in some cases in work that means something to them. Around this table none of the young men and women are lazing in the high grass or resting on a bed of roses, but neither are they shackled under an iron ceiling that was willing to see them educated, but won’t resolve their ability to work.
I think when we get ready to call uncles, aunts, parents, and friends not here but miles away, it might be worth a minute to make a call or send an email to Senator Hutchinson in support of these DREAMers and hunger strikers, but also to our own Senators and ask them to give another 2 million young people something to be thankful for in the spirit of Thanksgiving.
How about it?