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Whose Democracy Is It?

America is proud of its democratic values: accountable leaders, honest voting and a free press. But recently Americans have begun to ask Whose Democracy Is It?

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Whose Vote Counts?
American RadioWorks - St. Paul, MN
In the last presidential election, as many as six million votes weren't counted because of antiquated voting machines and confusion at the polls. America pledged to overhaul its voting system, but are we ready for 2004?

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Religious roots of American Democracy
Speaking of Faith - Minnesota Public Radio
An exploration of the religious impulse in American democracy with philosopher Jacob Needleman. Needleman took a sounding of the inner beliefs of the American founders. His thought-provoking findings suggest how Americans today might fill familiar patriotic sentiments with new meaning.

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The president calling
American RadioWorks, St. Paul, Minn.
Three of America's most compelling presidents – Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon – tapped their telephones, leaving behind a trove of secretly-made audio tapes, recording thousands of conversations, from momentous to mundane. In this project, American RadioWorks eavesdrops on presidential telephone calls to hear how each man used one-on-one politics to shape history.

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Document Visit the Whose Democracy Is It? national Web site
Document Campaign 2004

How much do you know?

Document INS Quiz
How much do you know about democracy, the United States and its system of government? Take the citizenship test used by the INS and see what you know...and don't know.

Document Advanced Citizenship Quiz
Are you a history buff? The quiz is simple if you paid attention in high school. But watch out for the tricky questions.


The Radical Center
Ted Halstead, spoke on The Radical Center and America’s Democracy at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. (Listen)

Media and Democracy
Brooke Gladstone on MPR's Midmorning. (Listen)

Discussing Democracy

What is Democracy? How do you participate in democracy? Join these and other discussions with Minnesotan citizens.

More stories from Minnesota Public Radio

Go to story Cyber democracy and civic discourse
The rise of the Internet and online community forums gave some people hope of luring increasingly disconnected public back into the political process.

Go to story The best office money can buy
"Self-financed" candidates say campaigning with their own money makes them more independent of special interests. But critics worry the trend will make political campaigns more expensive and put public office out of reach for average Americans.

Go to story Predatory lending: A study in the "business" of democracy
The word "business" does not show up in most of our basic ideas about American democracy. But few would deny business interests have come to play a big role in the democratic system.

Go to story The rise and fall of third parties
Minnesota has provided arguably the most fertile ground for third-party candidates in recent years. But despite that slim fingerhold, third-party and independent candidates struggle for their infrequent victories.

Go to story So you want to be a politician
For every candidate who wins an election, there is another who experiences the agony of defeat. Many of them are newcomers to the world of politics, who get an eye-opening look at the inside of a campaign, from door knocking to raising money.

Go to story Money talks at the Capitol
Money flowing into Minnesota's political system has increased dramatically in recent years. Critics say big money dominates debate at the Capitol, while others say the average citizen still has a powerful voice. How does money factor into the debate over a particular bill?

Go to story Immigrants facing Immigration Court find little solace in Constitution
The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights to all Americans. It says you can't be be deprived of your liberty without due process of law, for example. But under a legal doctrine that goes back more than 100 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistantly ruled that constitutional rights don't neccessarily apply to non-citizens.

Go to story Standing for something
The story of one person fighting for a cause is classic Americana: grassroots democracy at its best. Julie Jansen lived something like that when she took on a large hog company near her central Minnesota home.

Go to story Is democracy 'cool' to kids?
Voter turnout among 18 to 24-year-olds is declining faster than for voters over 25. Through innovative civic programs, political experts say, it may be possible to turn back the trend of low voter turnout by empowering young people at an early age.

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Putting the "Riot" back in patriotism
Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ)
Commentator Gwen Macsai takes a look at the notion of patriotism and the feelings it evokes: loyalty, respect and devotion, apathy, skepticism, and desertion. She comes to the conclusion that it's a lot like marriage.

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Armchair Citizens
KERA - Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Commentator James Mardis's experiences teaching young people about citizenship illustrate how America has become a society of reactionaries rather than citizens who create solutions.

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Money and politics
KERA - Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
Commentator Chip Pitts notes that money in politics undermines the democratic process and recommends some improvements.

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