I was sorry that I had to decline an invitation to work for Elizabeth Warren's campaign this Saturday. For democracy to work citizens have to do more than vote. Working for a candidate is only one way to help make democracy work. We can also hold our elected officials' feet to the fire, letting them know our views on important issues and holding them accountable for their actions or their inaction. Doing that effectively requires that we do our research about the issues and think through how our own values would best be translated into public policy. That may seem like a lot of work, but that's the kind of work that lobbyists do to try get the values of their clients translated into public policy. If we don't want public policy to be shaped by others, we need to invest some of our time in becoming effective advocates for our own values.
Benjamin Franklin was asked, at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, whether we had a Republic or a Monarchy. Franklin responded, "A Republic, if you can keep it." Keeping it is work that all of us need to do.