Maybe it's because he's already lived his own dream and talked so much about dreams that Sen. Jim Bunning didn't feel the need to listen to young people talk about theirs.
Whatever the reason, a group of people who sat peacefully in the lobby of Bunning's office were asked by local police to leave.
Four college students from Central Kentucky were ushered out of the senator's office last week by Fort Wright police. Bunning's office said another tenant in the building called the police but, still, after two days of waiting for him, the senator had not been able to make time to talk with the group.
The dream they're chasing is a chance to earn legal residency in the United States.
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They're supporters of The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act. Under it, college students or members of the military who were brought to the U.S. as minors before their 16th birthday, have lived here for five years, graduated from high school and have no smears on their moral character would be granted temporary resident status.
That means they could be authorized to work, get a driver's license or take out a student loan. Those who go on to receive a college degree or an honorable discharge from the military would receive conditional permanent residency.
The proposal acknowledges that these young people did not come to this country by their own choice but have nonetheless done well, played by the rules and finished high school.
Often they consider the U.S. their home and have little connection to the country their parents brought them from as children.
Immigration is, of course, the third rail of American politics right now. It's a complicated, difficult issue rife with emotional arguments and touchier than ever in these economically challenging times.
No matter how rational a suggestion might seem, virtually no one who aspires to gain votes wants to touch it. Distasteful but unfortunately true.
Bunning, who is not running for re-election, doesn't need to worry about votes. So you have to wonder why he's so reluctant to be confronted with the aspirations of these young people.
He's had a dream-like career, first as a Hall of Fame major league pitcher, then as a successful politician, rising from a city council seat in Fort Thomas to the U.S. Senate.
As a major leaguer, he fought for the rights of fellow players through the Major League Baseball Players Association and played a key role in setting up the pension plan.
But when four young people — a University of Kentucky graduate and students from UK, Asbury and Bluegrass Community and Technical College — approached Bunning to talk about gaining the rights they need to pursue their dreams, neither he nor his staff showed much interest in their aspirations.
Making the case in 2006 for abolishing the inheritance tax, Bunning spoke passionately about the American dream: "If you work hard and save money you can leave your children with the opportunity to live a happier and more prosperous life than you yourself did."
It is the American ideal, the thing that set us apart over 200 years ago from countries mired in rigid class systems. It's been imperfectly honored, but it is the hope that still motivates people to risk everything to come here, young children in tow, to pursue their dreams.
If our leaders refuse to even listen to those aspirations, they are not only ignoring our past, they are at great risk of damaging our future.