Friday, September 8, 2017

"A Waste Of Time And Taxpayer Money"

Well, there goes my original opening, wherein I identify with Republicans, continually on the warpath about costly and time-wasting government expenditures, and thereafter veer – as is my way – into a monumentally silly example, and we have a fun time and then get on with our lives. 

That one is now out, because I tipped my hand in the title.  I don’t know if you ever notice my titles.  Some of them are clarifyingly linked to the subject at hand, some of them are “cleverly” inventive (“cleverly” in quotes because, you know, that’s me evaluating me) and some of them – an unfortunately lofty number of them – are so indecipherably obscure they are frustratingly useless when it comes to “Where’s that post that has that title I can’t remember?”

Now, having expended two paragraphs explaining what I am not going to do, I shall simply “go real”, exposing the origin of this post, through a direct though unimaginative exposition.

“What does DACA stand for, Dad?’ inquired daughter Anna by phone yesterday morning because she was sure I would know the answer and I immediately let her (and my unborn granddaughter if she was listening) down, by having absolutely no idea.  (And don’t think that didn’t hurt.  Dads – at least Dads attentive to current events – are expected to know that stuff.  Otherwise, I’m just a cranky old man, with astonishingly long follicles, extending vertically from his earlobes.    

I took a couple of face-saving stabs at “What does DACA stand for?”, imagining that at least one of the “A’s” stood for “Alien” and maybe the “D” stood for “Dreamer”, my efforts more shamefully desperate than factually correct, and then I finally gave up.

Later, in the day, the burden of paternal failure weighing heavily on my feelings of self-worth and value to future generations, I Googled “What does DACA stand for?” – no, I didn’t, I now recall – I meant to but I forgot – Who wants to remember stuff that made them look pathetically ignorant in front of their children?

What actually happened was, I was reading a commentary in the paper this morning concerning President Scary Guy’s passing the buck on the incendiary issue of immigration to Congress, and there, before my eyes, was the answer to “What does DACA stand for?”, which, if you do not know, stands for… and now I forgot… hold on… “Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals”?... wait, I gotta go look it up… after I just read it a couple of hours ago…

Okay.  I was close.  It’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” 

Which got me thinking.  Not about the gut-wrenching uncertainty of their precarious  predicament, as I have nothing substantive to contribute.

Instead, I will put my great mind to work imagining how they came up with the acronym, DACA, a label about as illuminating as the titles of many of my posts, in that you look at it and you have no idea what it represents.  (Besides trouble for House Republicans if they vote for it or something compassionately close.)

I have always had a healthy skepticism – or unhealthy, if you believe it’s unhealthy to obsess about things that don’t matter – about acronyms, which, to me, feel either monstrously evasive – “Friendly Fire”, leaping to mind – or transparently “I dare you to oppose this even if it includes stuff that is screamingly unconstitutional.” – e.g., “The Patriot Act.”

DACA is an Obama Era follow-up to numerous failed efforts to pass “The DREAM Act.”  Get this one.  “The DREAM Act” is an acronym for the “Developmental Relief and Education for Alien Minors” Act. 

Pretty good, huh? – “The DREAM Act”?  I bet they had a big party after that one.  I mean, “Go ahead.  Criticize dreams!

That’s what “The DREAM Act” originators pulled off, people on the government payroll, graduates of colleges charging sixty thousand or more dollars a year, with razor-sharp minds, pitching acronyms for a policy they then challenge their adversaries not to support. 

Then, a new team of  labelers come in – “DREAM Act” acronym devisers, 2.0.  Who knows?  Maybe they are the same people, hoping acronymical lightning would strike them a second time.  (And fearing secretly it wouldn’t.) 

But I’m thinking it was a new generation, working in the same office as their acclaimed “DREAM Act” predecessors, toiling under a beaming portrait of goading “Acronym Legends.”  (I can imagine gushing parents back home crowing, “You know “The DREAM Act”?  My daughter came up with the ‘R’!”)

The pressure’s on.  Their challenge: Cleverly characterizing a directive allowing people brought here when they were young to remain legally in this country?

Let’s see, now…

“NFO” the “No Fault of our Own” – directive.

Let’s try and do better. 

How ‘bout the “LTS” – “Let Them Stay” – advocates?

“No, wait!” cry the congenital “Literalists”, “the ‘WLACWWHAMSOT’ – ‘We Love Alien Children Who Work Hard And Make Something Of Themselves’.”

Too long, and no “poetry.”

It’s not as easy as it looks.  It never was.  The WPA, during the Depression?  It’s all right, I suppose.  Way better than the original suggestion, the “WBBADATGPU” –shortened to “WABPU”, standing for “We Build Bridges And Dams And The Government Pays Us.”  Kind of sad.  They had to throw in a gratuitous “A”, just to pronounce it.

The best these “Best and Brightest” could come up with was DACA, which, to my ear, sounds suspiciously Russian.

Not saying I could do better.  Just saying, “Why waste government time and your high-priced educations, thinking about acronyms?”  It’s not like you’re fooling anyone.  Just call it what it is – the “We Want Them In, You Want Them Out” Initiative, and simply leave it at that?

That’s what I would do.  But that’s because I’m lazy.  And, as will shortly be revealed, critically ungifted at acronyms.

The preceding commentary is a Public Service sponsored by the IAS (the “Irrelevant Acronym Society”) in association with the IBPA (the “Irrelevant Blog Post Association.”  We hope our frivolous approach has not deterred you from the seriousness of our purpose. 

We thank you for your attention. 

And, hopefully, generous support.


Pidge said...

Can you comment on the hilarious acronyms used to describe diseases and conditions to make them sound less ominous? From ED to IBS, RL, EASD...and so on? Got a pill for that?

JED said...

Did you move to the US before the WIN (Whip Inflation Now) campaign started in 1974? I happened to move near Washington DC in January 1975 and WIN buttons and other paraphernalia where everywhere. It didn't take long before people were turning the buttons upside down to spell out NIM and there was lots of fun coming up with what that stood for.