January 5, 2021

About a year ago, I wrote that 2020 would be the year that determines whether or not American democracy survives. And here we are. Our system has never lived up to its fullest potential, but until recently, its aspirations have driven us to fight to perfect it, guaranteeing everyone equality before the law and the right to a say in our government. The democracy that began as equality for a handful of the people in the new nation—just white men of property—expanded first to include poorer white men, and then immigrants, then African American men, then women, then Asian immigrants, Latinos, and native peoples. That expansion has never been smooth. Indeed, it has been obstructed at every turn. But even as people in power sought to prevent those they considered inferior from being treated as equals, the principle expanded.

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