"Has it always been like this?" That was the question I was asked not quite three years ago, in the midst of the two-week shutdown of the federal government, by a student on my campus. In the years since then, the level of incivility in our political life, as evidenced by the current Presidential campaign, has only gotten worse. I sought to reassure my student, and to do so not with platitudes but with examples. I chose two.
I typically agree with much of what David Brooks has to say. However, I'm afraid that he was way off the mark with his article "How Covenants Make Us." Demographic diversity in the United States is a good thing. The problem has to do with the lack of integration and assimilation of demographically diverse communities.
At its simplest denominator, a citizen is by principle afforded the right of being included in a group's decisions. But there is a special place for those who serve as policymakers and policy experts. But I offer the point in my book that "sometimes the rules are not made by the public required to follow them."