9 Pages

Introduction: Democracy as a Way of Life

Most Americans take democracy as an accomplished fact, an inheritance from the founders that is beyond dispute. It is not something most Americans think about. It is just who we are. Democracy is, in this view, something fi nished, a static entity. The counterpart of this unexamined attitude is the belief among many of our pundits that democracy is simply the name of our political system, whose central value, rule of the people, is an inconvenient but necessary reality that one must work around. Democracy is merely a means to the end of good policy. Though we hear phrases today of a “crisis in democracy,” it almost always means the political system is not producing the outcomes that these political observers or leaders desire.