My younger son loves to draw. And my minister has a great eye for talent. So she's commissioned him to create artwork for this fall's Sunday School class.
Well fall is just about here, but he hasn't delivered his promised creations yet. So yesterday Mrs. Avdat and I had to crack the whip.
Our son got rather upset. I reminded him that he'd made a promise, and he needed to keep it. This just made him more upset.
I said, "Son. You love to draw. Drawing is fun. Why are you so upset about completing this assignment?" He tearfully replied, "It's no fun when I have to do it!"
I remember this attitude. I've never been shy about public speaking, but in 8th grade Miss Mansfield dragooned me onto the speech and debate team. Simply because I was forced to do it, I hated it, and I was stubborn enough that I quit the team for two years until Mr. Earnest tracked me down two years later and said, "Now you will be on the forensics team." For some reason I couldn't say no to the man. And I wound up having a lot of fun and getting better as a public speaker.
Now bear with me. In some strange way, this reminds me of the ongoing resentment about the health care reform law. Specifically, the mandate to buy health insurance.
Having health insurance is great thing. And remember, if you can't afford it, the government will even help you buy it!
Yet there's this massive resentment out there that the government is going to force you to do something great, namely, get yourself some health insurance. Most of the people complaining, such as the editorial writers at the Times-Dispatch, are people who have health insurance and like having it. But being forced to do something you already love--why that's tyranny! Like making a young artist make art. Or making a young public speaker speak in public.
It's times like these when we need Crash Davis to remind us to chill out:
Baseball is fun. Making art is fun. Avoiding health care bankrupcy is fun!
Most but not all people complaining have health insurance. The other day I had a conversation with the man who lives under the bridge over Bellevue Avenue going into Bryan Park. He let it be known that the government has no authority to compel ctizens to buy a product. If the homeless doubt the constitutionality of Obamacare, then Houston, we've got a problem!
But he's mistaken. The courts have traditonally interpreted the interstate commerce clause extremely broadly. And there's no doubt that modern medicine is a form of interstate commerce. So if the government is going to force hospitals to treat all-comers (and any decent society wouldn't turn away the critically ill or injured because they can't pay), why can't it require its citizens not to be health care freeloaders?
Despite all that I imagine that the Supreme Court will strike down the individual mandate. Not because it's unconstitutional. Did you hear any conervatives bemoaning the constitutionality of the mandate when Mitt Romney was making it the law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?
No, it's because conservatives are in no mood to compromise. When Democrats go so far as to endorse Republican proposals, like an individual mandate or cap-and-trade legislation to reduce CO2 emissions, Republicans simply repudiate their own positions and move farther to the right.
In the DSM there's a condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. We used to call it "Being a Teenager." I think the conservative movement in general suffers from this condition. Whatever Dad says is wrong, even if Dad agrees with us. Resenting being forced to do something you like is a classic symptom.
Today's treatment for ODD involves medication and family therapy, but in the old days parents treated their teenagers with reverse psychology. Like so.
So maybe the only way for Obama to enact his program is to get so far to the right of the Republicans that they'll start moving to the left. He could start by ditching Biden and tapping Ron Paul as his running mate.