This is the common belief. Reality is something different. We as ordinary citizens do not take an active part in the governing process. We elect representatives to take our views and values to Washington. But we are seeing more and more corruption of this process. Gerrymandering results in elections being biased against the majority. PACs funded by wealthy individuals, corporations and organizations fill the media with biased information, or worse, fake news. Voter registration laws make voting unnecessarily restrictive. Voter rolls are purged without fair and unbiased scrutiny.
The political process has become an adversarial contest, two sides with a mantra ‘win at all costs’. Gone is the concept of discussion, deliberation and compromise. Compromise that is the core of the democratic concept, seems to have dissipated.
The Presidential election has been won without the majority of the popular vote.
National politics has become a career endeavor with its own unique culture. The ties between the representatives and executive department appointees has become quite tenuous. The culture is one where money buys influence. Legislation and regulations are biased to favor the interests of the moneyed elite instead of the common good.
What used to be one broad class of citizens with common interests and values is no more. We have the financial “1%” and all others. We have the liberal intellectuals, the ultra right, the religious conservatives, and others. There are fewer and fewer threads of commonality to weave us all together. ‘People” in ‘We the people’ and ‘government of, by and for the people’ used to imply one class. Now it is multiple classes. Classes with ever more divergent interests, values and objectives. A core underpinning of our democracy is disintegrating.