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Dare to Dream

It's time to speak up now, Obama

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In her cover story this week, Santa Rosa native (by way of Mexico) "Dreamer" Maria De Los Angeles writes about how President Barack Obama had been "spiritually pardoned" from the sins of his early administration, which featured record numbers of deportations, when he subsequently moved to protect children of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

As Obama was leaving office, he made a pledge to speak out if he believed Trump was intruding into true-values territory and targeting vulnerable populations, which these days include Mexicans, Muslims and the media—yes, Obama pledged to protect the media, too. Last week he added "accusations of wire-tapping" to the list when his spokesman pushed back against that doozy from Trump.

I joked with Maria last Friday afternoon as we were working on her story that I'd call Michelle Obama to see if I could get her to model one of Maria's art-couture dresses, featured on the cover this week. But this is no laughing matter and that night I got home and said what the heck, I'll see if I can get the Obama people to engage at some level. After all, they're the ones who encouraged Maria to come forward and register as a Dreamer.

So I jumped onto Obama's new website—you can't just "call" Michelle Obama, as it turns out— and headed to the press portal, and left a long note to the effect of "Hey, anyone over there care to chime in on this remarkable woman? She just left her apartment and gave up her art studio because of Trump." I followed with a few emailed and tweeted attempts to grab the attention of the president's spokesman, Kevin Lewis. A comment, or how about an Open Mic from the former president—did somebody say something about the audacity of hope? That if you work hard and play by the rules that . . . oh, well.

So here's Obama at his January press conference, pretty powerful stuff: "The notion that we would just arbitrarily, or because of politics, punish those kids when they didn't do anything wrong themselves, I think would be something that would merit me speaking out."

Tom Gogola is the news editor of the 'Bohemian.'

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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