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Hope and sacrifice

There is a theme running through the crises that face America in our latest summer of discontent. What links energy policy to deficits, debt to education reform and war, is the need for national sacrifice.

Sacrifice is a grim political term, evoking the hopelessly distant and purportedly halcyon days of Franklin D. Roosevelt calling a nation to common purpose.

In this essay, Jon Meacham considers how past presidents have inspired national sacrifice — and what’s needed to revive hope for the present.


  • Andrew Siff

    Passing ‘universal health care’ didn’t require a spirit of sacrifice, it required bribery and arm twisting, at the very least. And how does anyone’s reaching into the pockets of another constitute a ‘fundamental human right’?

  • Dirk Faegre

    Hey Andrew ~ In answer to your plea. Just like education, the military, interstate highways, government sponsored research, state universities, the Centers for Disease Control, etc. We ALWAYS reach into the “pockets of others”. Indeed it’s the only way to get anything done. As to health care …. so you don’t see it as a fundamental right? You must be very healthy with good genes. And well paid. And not have been hit by Maddof, etc., etc. Be interesting to see how you felt if you lost your home (thru bank foreclosure and no fault of your own), were in a grisly car accident and found that your insurance co. charged you with a preexisting condition, had a child come down with a degenerative disease and blow thru your health insurance maximum so you had to start paying $100s of thousands of your own money, and finally got old one day and didn’t have the resources you have now. It’s easy to shoot at others from a lofty seat. The view changes when you come down.