The US can run an American political system, where power notoriously lies with money, and still keep 250 million people thinking they’re in a democracy, by a variety of means, partly profoundly ideological. There is that deeply-held American opposition to ‘the state’, even though people depend on it for so many things. ...it has the capacity to call the shots globally, which allows a large part of the population to consume and to fulfill their personal dreams, within limits.
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