Three out of five Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, feel our country is headed in the wrong direction. America is at the edge, a critical place at which we can either renew and revitalize or give in and lose that most precious American ideal—democracy—and along with it the freedom, fairness, and opportunities it assures. Democracy’s Edge is a rousing battle cry that we can—and must—act now. From Jefferson to Eisenhower, presidents from both parties have warned us of the danger of letting a closed, narrow group of business and government officials concentrate power over our lives. Yet today, a small and unrepresentative group of people is making vital decisions for all of us.
But this crisis is only a symptom, Lappé argues. It’s a symptom of thin democracy, something done to us or for us, not by or with us. Such democracy is always at risk of being stolen by private interests or extremist groups, left and right. But there is a solution. The answer, says Lappé, is Living Democracy, a powerful yet often invisible citizens’ revolution surging in communities across America. It’s not random, disjointed activism but the emergence of a new historical stage of democracy in which Americans realize that democracy isn’t something we have but something we do. Either we live it or lose it, says Lappé.