Ultimately, American democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law depend on sufficient patriots in positions of power. Who would have thought we might fall short?

by Bob Schwartz

The founders of America were not fools. They knew history. They knew politics. They knew law. They knew people, good men and scoundrels.

They did their best to craft an elegant and sustainable system. They did as much as they could, and they did it well. But they knew, as we all know, that the best systems cannot build in total safeguards for their benign operation and maintenance. For that, every system depends on a sufficient number of people in control who place the best interests of the system first—before their own interests.

In the case of American democracy, that means sufficient people in positions of power who are patriots. How many patriots in power are sufficient? We can’t be sure, because in all of American history, we have never had to ask the question. We’ve assumed there would always be enough patriots in positions of power to correct our course. How many patriots in power are sufficient? We may be about to find out by falling short.