Whenever I enter the capacious main entrance of the National Constitution Center, I take pause when I pass by this quote by Teddy Roosevelt that's etched in the wall: "the people themselves must be the ultimate makers of their own Constitution."
To my wife, and surely to most if not all of those giving their oath of citizenship, "civic literacy" of the sort she and all naturalized U.S. citizens have to demonstrate is at the core of setting an American free.
If thawing out our republic and getting it back on a vibrant track can be achieved without any changes whatsoever to our Constitution, as I've asserted in my last blogs, why haven't we done so already?
When we serve as jurors, we can literally take the law into our own hands. As Thomas Jefferson maintained, if citizen jurors "think the permanent judges are under any bias whatever in any cause," they can "take on themselves to judge the law as well as the fact."
What would having more Justices achieve? Ideally, a Court with a greater plurality of perspectives, a greater depth and breadth of experiences, backgrounds, value systems and approaches to their duties.
How different might things be if our youngest were voters? They'd be a powerful constituency whose vote politicians would covet. As a result, my hunch is that we'd have much more funding for education.
Corruption charges have touched almost every political leader in Spain. Yet impunity remains and dominates. Neither the King nor Prince Felipe has publicly denounced this calamitous form of public behavior. What a mediocre show.
A direct democracy on a global scale is not yet feasible. An interim option is what I name a direct republic: An elected representative body writes the new laws for final ratification by direct votes of the people. A direct republic can work locally, nationally and globally.
Lawrence Lessig, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, explains how our government -- given all the ways it can spy on us -- should just as determinedly use modern technology and technologists to protect our liberties.
Five hours into the drive from Atlanta to Washington, our kids tried to stage a coup. It happened at the worst possible moment in our trip, during a pit stop at a rest area on Interstate 85 in a remote part of North Carolina.
Our leaders were supposed to be our servants. They were elected "to serve". I'm not claiming the thing ever worked perfectly, but who among us now even imagines that our representatives serve any of us?
We consider ourselves a democracy, yet we salute the flag of a Republic. No idea is more central to the concept of a republic than what used to be called civic virtue, but what today would be called "giving something back."