The price of democracy is our mutual commitment to our common life.

From “A House Divided: Engaging the Issues through the Politics of Compassion” by Mark Feldmeir

As political theorist and community activist Saul Alinsky once said, “People cannot be truly free unless they are willing to sacrifice some of their interests to guarantee the freedom of others.”

This is the very spirit of democracy. It is what sends women and men willingly into the battlefield to defend our country, or into burning towers to rescue lives, or into the line of fire to protect our cities and neighborhoods. It’s what sends some into school classrooms instead of corporate boardrooms, willing to be paid less to serve their communities. It’s what compels us to contribute to victims of disasters, and inspires us to feed the hungry in our local communities. It’s a willingness and an eagerness to sacrifice our personal interests for the freedom and flourishing of others. 

Healthcare is not a constitutional right, but it is a human right implied in the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is not a universal law, but it is our shared commitment to the common good, which has always been the American ideal.