...many Americans have tended to naively believe that our leaders are selfless folks. They forget, of course, that the Founding Fathers loudly warned against relying on the charitable intentions of leaders, expressly set up a government based on the rule of law instead of the rule of men, and warned that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance in holding the feet of the powerful to the fire.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up