Congress returns this week, and here's hoping that its members, Democrats in particular, learned a little something from this summer's town hall meetings. The lesson to be drawn from these occasionally raucous events is that America is on the verge of--or already knee-deep in--one of those moments that periodically roil the country and rearrange our preconceived notions about public life. And not a moment too soon.
Popular outbursts serve as a check on, and corrective to, our elites' behavior. The people know things the elites forget or don't want to remember. The political class is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around. As Gerald Ford said after assuming the presidency on August 9, 1974, "Here the people rule."
For a while now, the message from Washington has been that we know what's good for the public, whether the public likes it or not...
The second thing that is motivating the new public outcry is a sense of estrangement from political decisionmaking. The worry that Obamacare will result in fewer personal choices and more government fiat is legitimate. That's what Obamacare is set up to do. The debate is not merely a matter of which inputs will produce--voilà!--the desired outcomes, as the Obamacrats think. It's about freedom and responsibility. It's about a family's ability to control its fate, an individual's ability to shape his nation's future.