Has our system of checks and balances between the three branches of our federal government undergone changes for good or ill over the years since the Constitution was set as the cornerstone of our nation? How stand our political traditions, our personal freedoms, our purported equality, our sense of governance of, by, and for the people? Are we the democratic nation we set out to be, or do we have a distance to go to achieve this ideal? Alternatively, is approaching a democratic ideal desirable today in the light of the smaller, more integrated, and dangerous world in which we live?
Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Government? examines the theory and practice of American democracy and the dichotomy that currently exists between them. The contributors assess both the reasonsùand the consequencesùof this division between the theory of democracy and how it is played out in actuality. Focusing on the here and now, this book is about the institutions, process, and politics of government: how well they work; whether they meet the criteria for a viable democratic system; and the extent to which they contribute to good public policy.
As we begin the 21st century, with rancorous political partisanship and threats to domestic security and tranquility at an all-time high, Is This Any Way to Run a Democratic Government? asks us to think seriously about the state of our much-heralded democracy, and whether or not our political system can respond to the pressing needs of a new era without jeopardizing the basic values and beliefs that underlie its very foundation.