Dodging the Law

June 2012

                Return with me now to yesteryear when a conveyance, ie, the way you travelled to work at the farm down the road, or to town to the General store for supplies, the little red school house or the barn dance on Saturday nights, was by horse or mule, or a carriage or wagon pulled by animals. Yesteryear was a more simple time with little government regulation. You could actually build a house with out getting a permit, drive a horse or wagon without a license or insurance. My Grandmother and Grandfather built a sod house in N. Dakota and lived in it and raised kids. No permit necessary, no mortgage either.

                My Grandfather had a large horse drawn wagon and he hauled freight with it. He was called a "freighter." Now he would be called a "truck driver." He didn't drive his loaded freight wagon over 40 miles of bad road because it was fun, he did it because it was an economic necessity. He had to make money to feed the family back at the sod house.

                Today's equivalent of the sod house is a cookie cutter two bedroom town house in the suburbs. But Father still drives to work over 40 miles of pot hole roads to buy groceries for the family and make the rent payment. The difference between now and yesteryear is, in yesteryear father held the leather reins that guided the horse drawn wagon. Today his hands hold the wheel of the truck or bus or taxi or car. He is driving to work to put food on the table.

                There is a huge difference between yesteryear and today. Now you must have in your possession a piece of paper called a drivers license to operate a motor vehicle. Of course the all knowing, all seeing always greedy state government has convinced you that driving is a privilege granted to you for a fee, not a right and that privilege is granted and revoked by state authority.           

                                    That is just bullshit!

                I submit that driving is neither a right nor a privilege, but pure economic necessity in today's world. Dont think so? Try suspending your own drivers license for a week. Throw the car keys away! Don't drive. It should take you about a week to figure out how to re-arrange your life with out wheels. You will learn how much cab fare costs to get to work and back. You'll find you can't afford it. You'll learn what bus you must take and how many transfers and how much lead time you need to get to work on time. You will learn if you work nights perhaps there is no bus at all.

                Grocery shopping for the family is a whole new challenge. You will learn how many bags of groceries you can juggle on the bus home. You'll learn what it is like to have the fat guy who smells bad stuff himself into the seat next to you. Someone you would never let in your car, let alone share a seat with.

                Next you can figure out how to get the kids to after school football practice, band practice or the school play. Social necessity. Try and remember the look on their little faces when you tell your small children "I can't drive you there anymore. The state took my license.", “What's a license,” they may ask, so figure out how to answer that one!

                I was once in jail with a father of three who had been arrested five times for driving with a suspended license. “What am I supposed to do?” he anguished, “I have to drive in order to get to work. I can't tell my three kids sorry there is no dinner on the table tonight because the state took my drivers license."

                He made a father's decision. “My kids have to eat. To hell with the state and their rules. As soon as I get out of jail I'm going to jump in my truck and drive to work! I have no choice!”

                And how about you with your self imposed experiment on living without a license? How long will it take before you decide that the hassle of life without a license out weighs the risk of driving anyway? You will jump in the car and get back to life with wheels. I promise.

                The truth is everyone with a suspended license will drive at one time or another, either in an emergency or to get back to work everyday. Listen folks. That equates to thousands of people driving around with no license. This is a huge problem No drivers license means no insurance!

                When the state suspends a drivers license it presents that parent with an impossible situation. Abide by the states edict or be a responsible mother or father and drive to work and feed the family.

                And isn't that just what the state wants, responsible parents working and taking care of their families, thereby paying taxes? The punitive practices the state license suspensions have created is a new class of citizens I will call R. P. D. W. S. Responsible parents driving while suspended!

                What is the solution? My solution is for the state to create a managed insurance risk pool. Anyone that needs insurance gets it for free. The benefits to the state are obvious, working parents paying taxes, putting money into the economy for groceries, gas, clothes and utilities.

                While dodging the law may sound romantic, driving with out a license is an unnecessary stress on already stressed out wage earners. Free insurance is the answer. Fund it with lottery money. The Oregon Lottery brags that they do “good things.” Well, this is the next good thing to do and it is the right thing to do.

                Oregon has a history of doing the right thing. A pioneering state in making throw away beverage containers worth money. We call it the bottle bill. Tearing out a freeway and installing what we now refer to as Tom McCall water front park. A 1980's Oregon supreme court decision made abortions available to all women regardless of ability to pay. It mandated abortion insurance if you needed it and the state will pay. A precedence of insuring the uninsured has already been set to my thinking. The Oregon medical marijuana law that allows almost 60,000 Oregonians the right to grow their own medicine. These are some of the “right things” Oregon has done!

                Now I know this really good idea of mine for free state funded insurance will probably never see the light of day. So next time you're driving in traffic, see if you can figure out if the car in front of you, along side of you or following too closely behind you is dodging the law for driving while suspended. Pray they don't run into you for they have NO INSURANCE!

By Don DuPay