He was a dreamer, the sort of kid who wouldn't let anything get in his way--whether it was an offensive lineman or a scout telling him he would never play at the next level. He ran over both with equal tenacity, pursuing his dream with the same ferociousness with which he pursued the quarterback.
He was a dreamer, the sort of football player who wouldn't let his dream die in high school even though he didn't get a college scholarship. He tried out and made the Georgia Southern team as a walk-on, but was expected to barely play, if he ever played at all. But he was a worker as well as a dreamer, and played in 13 games as a freshman before starting at middle linebacker his junior year.
The next season, he was voted team captain, made 100 tackles, and led his team to the conference championship, racking up first-team all-conference honors in the process. He wasn't just a star on the football field; he helped others' dreams come true, too--volunteering at a local elementary school and spending his Christmas break teaching football to underprivileged kids in Costa Rica.
Even though nearly every dream of football glory ends in college, his didn't. He wouldn't let it. No NFL team drafted him, but he signed as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals. He made it to the very end of training camp, but was cut before the 2015 season started.
His dream had to end there, right? No, he still wouldn't let it. That December, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts and played in all 16 games of the 2016 season, starting eight of them.
His dream had come true. He had achieved what he never allowed himself to believe was impossible. He was an NFL football player.
On Sunday, though, Edwin Jackson's dream died on the side of a snowy freeway in Indianapolis. He asked his Uber driver to pull over because he was feeling sick. As he and the driver, Jeffrey Monroe stood on the shoulder, a pickup truck slammed into them, killing them both. The driver, heavily intoxicated, tried to take off on foot, but was quickly arrested.
We're told that drunk driver is a sort of dreamer, too; a man who dreams of freedom and opportunity and a better life. A man who, like, Edwin Jackson, would do anything to make his dream come true.
Including illegally entering the United States, living there illegally for years, and then sneaking back in after he was deported twice in 2007 and 2009. Manuel Orrego-Savala is a dreamer, too, we're told, and was just doing what he needed to to keep his dreams alive.
Entire cities dedicate themselves to Manuel Orrego-Savala's dream, offering sanctuary for people like him and refusing to cooperate when their crimes necessitate their removal from this country. They're just dreamers, too, we're told, and who are we to end their dreams? Who are we to put up a wall to block their dreams?
Their dreams are our dreams, aren't they? For the most part, they are. But when dreams end long before they should because we would rather be a sanctuary than a nation of laws, when we ignore our own laws, ignore criminality, and ignore the reality that we owe a far greater duty to Edwin Jackson than we do to Manuel Orrego-Savala, we fail in our most basic duty as a nation--to protect our citizens.
Edwin Jackson was a dreamer, but because of our nation's acceptance of Manuel Orrego-Savala's repeated criminality, we must all wake up to a nightmare of our own making.