I am not a fast enough thinker to find agreement or disagreement with President Obama and his administration. By the time I have considered his proposals and formed an opinion, he has usually changed his mind.
It is beginning to look as if the Affordable Care Act is going to be delayed indefinitely in much of its implementation. I cannot say that I am disturbed by this delay, but I guess I need to relearn some of my civics lessons. I have lived with the illusion that a bill passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president became law that could only be undone by a repeal measure from congress and the president.
Some provisions of a law are delayed deliberately by the language of the law, but for the most part legislation is enforced 90 days after the passage of the law. Passing bills into laws and then having time to examine them and decide on enforcement or implementation is a new idea for me, especially if the same folks are involved in the two decisions.
The idea of passing a law and then deciding whether or not to enforce it seems to be a hallmark of our present government. We have always had protesters who refused to obey a law but this is something new.
Government by whim is not the way a democracy is supposed to work.
If the supreme Court decided to strike down the Affordable Care Act they would have some problem in knowing what they were striking down, and we may be nearing a point when no one would pay any attention anyway.
Andrew Jackson, a man called King Andrew during his presidency, said,” Let the Supreme Court enforce its decision” in one case he didn’t like. Still something of a hero to me, Jackson was a man who tolerated little disagreement with his views, and like Obama was a man of the moment more than a man of the law and custom.
Our times may call for a new idea of passing laws and letting them lay dormant until needed, but that is a break with the original idea of a democracy and puts a lot of power in the hands of one man.
It also gives a distinct impression that our government does not quite know what it is doing. On the other hand, we may just need a law saying we will do what is needed when the time arrives. It worked fairly well in the times when we had kings.
I have a nagging suspicion that I know what is behind this delay in putting the healthcare law into effect, and it may not be a mere whim. I have a suspicion that it has something to do with the coming elections this November.
TOBY HIGHTOWER is a retired educator and former Hopkinsville High School teacher. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to him at 222 S. 25th St., Apartment 434, Terre Haute, IN. 47803.