My son looked at me with a furrowed brow as we heard the news on the radio that, once again, "Nick's Law" was killed in committee. He asked, "When conservatives say they don't like mandates, why is it we have to wear seatbelts and you are required to carry auto insurance?"
I didn't have an answer that made sense. You see, the form of autism my son has precludes him at times from making distinctions in gray areas and often heightens his sensibilities to hypocrisy.
He continued, "And what is the deal with this Insure Oklahoma thing " isn't that a form of government-backed health care?" Again, I was at a loss for words and simply resorted to telling him that it's government and isn't always supposed to make sense. Of course, he knew that I was dodging the question and that I was simply trying to avoid getting overheated in the always-problematic Edmond traffic. He smiled at me and said, "I understand, Dad," shook his head and changed the radio station.
Business is about making profits and no one can deny that reality. And that is not a bad thing whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I think our country works best when there is little or no government intervention in commerce. Yet, there are times when government does need to step in and "mandate" how business is done.
No one would argue that government's intervention in child labor was a bad thing, yet it was a "mandate" from government, wasn't it? The requirement for every Oklahoman to carry car insurance is a mandate of sorts, isn't it? One legislator wants to increase fines for those not carrying auto insurance, and the aggregate result will be more revenue for insurance companies.
But somehow, that is acceptable.
Requiring insurance companies to cover some forms of autism treatment will continue to be a hotbed of discussion and could eventually be the straw that broke the Republican camel's proverbial back. Compassionate conservatives are wondering what happened to the "compassionate" side of those who ran their campaigns on pro-life, pro-family platforms. Perhaps they meant pro-life (unless my campaign contributors don't like it), pro-family (unless your children have autism) and pro-business (it's all about the cash flow, baby).
But we really shouldn't be surprised, because these same elected officials who believe in freedom still can't comprehend the whole "shall not be infringed" part of the Second Amendment, where our sacred and most holy of holies is concerned " our institutions of higher learning.
So, for now, Nick's Law is on hold, but the activism therein will not be. Elected officials who can't seem to do the right thing and have subjugated themselves to the insurance lobby are being watched very closely, and their constituencies will be notified of their every move eventually. You see, my son's form of autism has its problem areas, but one positive aspect is that he has an incredible memory.
Black is a consultant living in Edmond and founder of Wild Oklahoma TV & Radio.