The second reality we recognize is that democracy works -- even when it doesn't suit us. Understand that the $14.7 trillion federal debt is a democratic phenomenon. We the people asked for the things we wanted, or thought we did. Our lawmakers obliged us. We must have liked what they gave us -- Social Security, welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. -- because we kept re-electing these open-handed philanthropists. They assured us we could afford it. We fell for it -- hard.
Even when democracy works without working just right, it can do its job -- letting the people demand course corrections. The correction for which the Democrats seem headed in 2012 may not be as bad as Democrats fear or Republicans hope. Many Americans still favor the high, wide and handsome spending of money -- especially money from other people's pockets. Nonetheless, the whole money, jobs and big government conundrum is now on the table for national consideration. The candidates and the public will talk of little else for the next year, which is how things are supposed to go in a democracy, when people are gloomy and worried.
Is this a transcendently splendid moment as default and downgrade anxiety -- let us pray -- subsides temporarily? No way! It's a lousy moment full of peril intensified by the high-volume screaming on political blogs. Yet, this is how democratic nations move forward as well as backwards: by having their say and charting or re-charting the way ahead. We'd do well to keep in mind that, that is what is going on right now in our most-of-the-time beloved nation.