the United States also began by asserting the proposition that both our equality and our rights are things that we did not make and about which we have no choice, an unalienable heritage from nature. If people are to come first in public policy, human nature must be given its due. Human beings are more than consumers, and their dignity--their need to be needed-- deserves to be afforded at least equal status with the pursuit of abundance and mastery. Equality implies more than rights; it suggests that, within the limits of our circumstances, we can and should be held accountable to equal standards, offered and expected to live up to the opportunity to contribute to the common life. Even in speech, Bill Clinton's promise of a "new covenant" sounded chords of memory; it remains to be seen how far he can take Americans toward a rediscovery of the Republic.