In today’s Globe an author named Miles J. Unger has a good op-ed column on the history of democracy and American voting. He finishes with these two paragraphs.
While it is unrealistic in a nation of more than a quarter billion people to revive the direct street-corner democracy of ancient Athens or Renaissance Florence, we could learn valuable lessons from our predecessors. True democracy requires a level of engagement long missing from our political system. It demands that we be citizens, not merely voters.
Americans barely possess even the minimum requirements of citizenship, like keeping ourselves informed on the issues of the day. Recent surveys suggest our shocking ignorance of both history and geography. Those countries we hope to remake in our image might be more inclined to follow our lead if we could actually locate them on a map.
Miles J. Unger is author of Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de’ Medici.