Can Democracy Be an Agent of Both Power and Goodness?

To Promote True Civic Virtue, Our System of Government Needs an Ethical Compass and to Actively Engage Citizens

Of all the political words that trip off our tongues yet bedevil understanding, one of the most important is “democracy.”

Strictly translated, it signifies authoritative power (kratos) by the citizenry or people (demos)—particularly the lower and middle classes—in the public affairs of a political order. Of course, this does not describe our reality.

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We Americans live in a republic, whose laws are made by public officials in whom citizens invest power and authority, legitimating their power over the citizens who are governed. …

To Make California a True Democracy, Give Non-Citizens the Right to Vote

If You Root for the Dodgers, Pay Taxes, and Battle Traffic, Are You Any Less Californian Than Me?

President Trump claims that California allowed millions of non-citizens to cast ballots in the 2016 elections. This allegation, while totally bogus, has put California and its political leaders on the …

Want to Protect Immigrants? Help Integrate Them into Our City.

Local Jobs, Language Skills, and a Path to Citizenship Are the Best Defense Against Anti-Immigrant Fervor

Is it any wonder that immigrant Los Angeles finds itself in the eye of Tropical Storm Don?

President Trump has stormed in with talk of Muslim travel bans, plans to build …

At “Constitution Cafés,” We, the People, Try to Form a More Perfect Union

How I'm Getting Citizens Together to Rewrite Our Government’s Sacred Text

Are Americans finally ready to un-rig their Constitutional system?

I’ve spent nearly the past decade traveling the United States and talking with people about the Constitutional system, and I think the …

Pledging Allegiance to Our Different—and Shared—Ideals of Citizenship

Even in Times of Bitter Partisanship, Americans Can Unite Around Common Beliefs and Goals

Citizenship in the United States is distinguished by how many different and contradictory abilities and actions it requires of citizens, said panelists at a Smithsonian/Zócalo “What It Means to Be …