YESTERDAY WAS a great day for majorities. A majority of the Supreme Court upheld the majority of the Affordable Care Act, a complex but very necessary piece of legislation that majorities in Congress had passed more than two years back.
Besides the great satisfaction that comes from watching the various branches of our government working in the intricate ways our forefathers envisioned, yesterday’s events furnish an opportunity to reflect on the great courage required of leaders in our contentious democracy. I hope every congressman and senator who voted for the passage of the ACA will feel more comfortable taking credit for this landmark legislation.
I’m sure the Affordable Care Act is imperfect and that down the line it will need to be tweaked. But the complex provisions of the law are complex for the very reason that they represent an accommodation: an accommodation of many powerful private interests, institutions and professions, as well as a dizzying range of individual, programmatic, and social needs. The health-care reform act will affect us all, and it will shift around the burdens of health care in our society; but it marks a path toward a healthier society, so far the only one a majority of our legislators has managed to agree to.
A minority of Americans will continue to rail against our national institutions, and will try to convince the rest of us to hate a measure likely to confer broad benefits on us, both individually and as a society. May their cries fall on deaf ears, and may they remember that the very foundation of our system is a respect for majority rule.