One Man’s Dream Is Another Man’s Nightmare

The theme of many a garage or yard sale might be, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The same goes for those who can’t wait for spring cleanup when items are able to be put out on the aprons of our streets and inevitably, people drive by and see something they like, or might be able to fix, and they take it free and clear. My daughter, Christina, is amazingly talented in using things left for pickup, and converting them into some great, rustic style furniture, or decorative pieces, or kitchen stands. (She made us a great coffee and microwave stand for our kitchen using an old wooden door and some old wall molding). She just does a little reshaping, some sanding or cleaning, maybe dab some paint here and/or there, and the result is a great addition to someone’s home or patio. So I guess things in this respect can be great all the way around, be it if you look at something as not being useful anymore, or be it if you think you can turn what someone percieves as nothing, into something someone can use and add to the dÈcor of their home. Unfortunately, not all things can be perceived in a positive way such as that.

In a bill being called the” Dream Act,” New York state is proposing to offer free college tuition to students from families that are considered illegal aliens and certain out-of-state residents. My perspective here is, “One man’s dream, is another man’s nightmare.” Essentially, the “Dream Act” will allow the state to give millions of dollars for tuition, to people who don’t pay state income taxes, but those millions of dollars, in effect, will be paid back to the state by those who already do pay New York state income taxes. And on top of that, if those taxpayers have children who want to attend college in the state of New York, those taxpayers, or their kids, will have to foot the bill for their college education without benefit of any proposed act.

An additional aspect of this “Dream Act” is that if a prospective college student who is an illegal alien, and not even a resident of New York state, but comes to New York and lives here for 30 days, they’ll be eligible to take the state GED exam, and if they pass, they’ll be eligible for the free tuition as well. So in reality, these students can get their high school diploma in another country, come to New York, live here for the 30 days, take the GED and if they pass, receive free rides to a college education.

My son, Jon, attended college in Buffalo from 2007-2011, and graduated, on time, with his degree in Criminal Justice, which helped him toward his goal of becoming a law enforcement officer. He had lived in New York all his life. He attended New York Schools. He attended a New York College, yet, ironically, when he graduated with his degree, there were only possible part-time positions available in New York, and on top of his college loans which he incurred for those four years, he would have had to pay to receive his training at any of the New York State police academies, and there still would not be a guarantee of a job when he finished.

He, then, applied for opportunities in many places across the country and finally, was accepted by the Chesterfield County, Virginia Police Department for training, not only at their cost, but also, with pay while he trained, and the guarantee that he would have a full-time position in the department when his training was complete. So, he and 29 other men and women received their shields without having to pay for their training, and they all went to work immediately for the CCPD upon completion. And, oh by the way, eight of those 30 were former residents of New York State. Not so great a selling point for New York. I guess New York’s loss was definitely Virginia’s gain.

The leaders of this state want you to live here, pay for your education here, pay for others’ education here, pay extra for training in your chosen field, with no guarantee of a position when it is done, but please hang around here in NY, and be patient that things will get better and maybe something will be opening up soon. While you are waiting, though, please, immediately, start paying back those college loans that our New York Financial institutions lent you at outrageous interest rates, while you are working at your minimum wage job and paying state income taxes, so other students, some illegal aliens, can go to college for free.

Jon began paying back his loans immediately. He has not missed a payment. He has paid back the three smaller ones, but still has to be pay the large one which will take him the better part of maybe the next seven, or so, years to do so.

Jon received some college grants and awards, and a few local scholarships to help ease his financial burden for college, but no one came up with a “Dream Act” for him. He did everything the state would have wanted him to do, but at the end of his rainbow, there was no pot of gold, just a huge bill and a request for him to stay and pay someone else’s bill as well.

I know many will say that New York gave him the education he received to get where he is today. I disagree. The institutions he attended were located in New York state. Those institutions provided him the opportunity to earn that education, but he earned it. He set his sights on his goal. He made the decisions to do what was necessary to prepare himself for his future. He attended his classes, took on his internships, and did the work. Hw earned his degree. He trained hard as he could. He earned his officer’s shield. He has since earned his detective’s shield. He earned what he has today.

Nowhere in that last litany of sentences did it read that New York did any of what Jon did, and this is not singling out my son as some kind of state hero or model. He is but one example of many, many whose families have lived in this state their whole lives, and have worked here, paid taxes (many of those the highest in this country), been productive citizens in this state, only to have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to all that this state decides to place taxation on, and pay for their children to be educated in New York and are now going to be made to pay for the educations of those, who by law, are illegal residents of this state and country.

I have no problem with people who want to come to this country. My ancestors came to America from Italy and made a good life here, but they did it legally. They worked here. They paid taxes here. I believe everyone living in this nation legally (emphasize legally), should have the same opportunities, and enjoy the same privileges, as everyone else, but do the work to become legal, if you come from another country, and follow the laws of this country, and pay the same taxes as everyone else has to pay.

So, you can see that this “Dream Act” is probably going to be a “Nightmare Act” for many people who have been loyal to this state their entire lives. And, if “one man’s dream is another man’s nightmare,” then feel free to insert my name before the word nightmare in that statement.