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If at first you don’t succeed ...

POSTED September 6, 2017 2:44 p.m.

In case you haven’t realized it, this world if filled with systems that just don’t work, or don’t work as they were intended to.

For example:

• The directions for that easy-to-install screen door or the easy-to-open sinus capsule packet.

• Making an appointment to see a doctor, only to have to wait an hour to see the doctor.

• Car tag renewals.

• How the Great Bend City Council first handled the controversy involving now-reinstated Police Chief Cliff Couch and now-retired City Administrator Howard Partington.

• How many in the community responded to how the Great Bend City Council first handled the controversy involving now-reinstated Police Chief Cliff Couch and now-retired City Administrator Howard Partington.

• Preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

• Trying to reason with that crackpot despot in North Korea who now has some of those nuclear weapons, despite anti-proliferation efforts.

• The Interstate system that helped unite the nation with swift, reliable highways that also ushered in more opportunities to kill ourselves in high-speed crashes and transport illegal narcotics.

Anyway, you get the idea. It is the law of unintended consequences, or the fact that no good deed goes unpunished.

Before I continue, I need to insert a disclaimer. I am a Democrat.

Granted, I’m a very moderate Democrat. Age, or as I prefer to say, experience and wisdom, have dulled the edges of my liberalism.

Just as I’ve witnessed the excesses of conservatives foisting unreasonable burdens on the poor, I’ve seen the abuses of liberals foisting unreasonable demands on society.

I am a jaded cynic with a “D” behind my name on my voter registration.

So, when the issue of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, came to the fore with President Trump’s threat to end the program, my liberal proclivities bristled.

Implemented in 2012 by the President Obama administration, DACA allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation, and eligibility for a work permit. The program has been formally rescinded by the Trump administration, but implementation was delayed by six months to give Congress time to come up with a solution for those previously eligible for DACA, or about 800,000 young people. 

“How dare they punish these children,” I said to myself. “It’s not their fault their parents are illegal immigrants.”

As it turned out, I had a very lively discussion on this topic Wednesday morning. My very competent foil in this conversation noted the challenges of DACA and how it could potentially increase the burden on an already burdened social service system.

Could it be that this program, much like any welfare system, may siphon services away from others in need? Are we taking food out of the mouths of hard-working Americans and giving preferential treatment for college admissions?

Good points and hard questions.

I haven’t entirely changed my mind, but I rethought my position and saw it through a different filter. It is easy hitch a ride the political bandwagon you are most comfortable with, but hitting a bump and being knocked off that wagon hurts, but is often a good thing.

As a side note, I find it humorous that Republicans cried foul when Obama whipped out his pen and signed the DACA executive order. This, they said was an egregious presidential overreach, a violation of federal law. 

These are the very Republicans who dragged their feet on the issue. Obama got tired of waiting.

It is also these very Republicans who now are scrambling in the wake of Trump’s decision to phase out DACA. Now, there are voters at stake.

The bottom line – whether installing a screen door, responding to a hurricane or solving one of the most daunting humanitarian crisis that has faced this nation, nothing is black and white. Despite the best of intentions, we can never anticipate all the consequences.

Does that make ideas like DACA bad ones? No.

Just like our highways, the New Deal and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), most programs have noble aspirations.

Does that mean we can’t revisit and tweak these ideas? Again, no.

From solving problems in our own city to making the world a better place, we must be willing to look things from many angles. This means, and this is very difficult, setting aside our ideological differences.

No idea is perfect. The best we can hope for is to try, make mistakes and use lessons from those mistakes to improve and try again.

Dale Hogg is the managing editor of the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at dhogg@gbtribune.com.

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