This authoritative and passionate primer on the three branches of government reveals the changes—political, cultural, constitutional, technological, institutional—that render our government completely dysfunctional, and the urgent need to fix our democracy before it’s too late.
If you’ve been watching the news and worrying that our democracy no longer works, this book will help you understand why you’re right. There is colossal concentration of power in the Presidency. Congress is crippled by partisanship and dependence on special interest money. The Supreme Court and many lower federal courts are riven by politics. Add politically fractured and fragile media, feckless campaign finance laws, rampant income and education inequality, and multicultural divisions, and it’s no wonder our leaders can’t agree on anything or muster a solid majority of Americans behind them.
With decades as a leader in government, law, and business, Joseph A. Califano, Jr. has the maturity to be party-neutral in his evaluation and the perspective to see the big picture of our democracy. Using anecdotes and examples featuring every modern president and actions of both parties, Califano makes the urgent case that we do not need to agree, but we do need to trust each other and be worthy of that trust, in order to bring back systems of government that protect freedom and promote fairness.
The longer we wait to fix these problems, the more dangerous our situation will become. Our Damaged Democracy is the rallying cry we need to get our country back on track.
Joseph A. Califano, Jr. spent thirty years in Washington at the top of the Pentagon, on the White House staff as chief domestic advisor to the President, and in the Cabinet. He worked as an attorney for The Washington Post during Watergate and has represented clients as varied as the Black Panthers and Coca Cola. He also spent years on Wall Street and served on more than fifteen public company boards and numerous not-for-profit boards. He is founder of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). He has written fourteen books, including Our Damaged Democracy. He lives in Westport, Connecticut.